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St. Francis to the Rescue

Susan Helene Kramer

nonfiction story

Photo: Satchidananda Ashram, Buckingham, Virginia



Saint Francis is still alive and working miracles; this is a true story of the power of his caring love.


At the end of summer, 1985, my family and I had been living at the Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham, Virginia for 3 months. We were getting settled in a little brick house on an acre of forest land recently cleared to build several houses. Devotees had come together to help build the LOTUS, Light of Truth Universal Shrine, to be dedicated July 20, 1986.


On moving in, one of my first projects was to prepare the little house for winter rains by planting winter-hardy greenery around the perimeter in the bare orange clay earth.


On the long front of the house was a full length porch, screened to keep out mosquitos. Below the porch ledge I planted a low ground cover of bushes surrounding a 3 foot tall statue of St. Francis.


Now, to get into the story


In this rural countryside of pine and oak forest the end of September marked the beginning of deer hunting season. Driving the winding country roads between the ashram and Charlottesville was bound to produce at least one deer sighting, either in a field or your car headlights. Deer were prolific.


The first day of deer hunting season began with a bang. Even from the 650 acres of ashram land we could hear guns popping.


Looking out the front window on that early noisy morning my daughter and I were stunned to see 6 wild deer standing right next to our house, in a clump around the statue of St. Francis.


These deer must have felt the humble peacefulness of St. Francis and were drawn in to the sanctuary of safety. When we opened the door the deer dispersed, but the lesson from St. Francis remained with us: kindness to others lives on and on.


Dear St. Francis, thank you for being with the creatures of the forest that morning, offering a refuge of safety beyond your lifetime on earth, literally, down through the centuries.


I see this as another proof that love permeates time, place, space without bounds. We have so much to learn.



St. Francis to the Rescue
and photo credit copyright 2011 - 2015 Susan Helene Kramer

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