Monday, January 23, 2012

blessing of the animals, another borghese walk jan 2012. feast of st anthony abbott

great looking sheep

waiting for his blessing

poster announcing the Sunday blessing

strangest animal we saw

an animal we don't usually see on our borghese walks

he/she was very content and cute

brave and patient priest

blessing the herd of sheep
military horses

stirring a huge pot of polenta 
Saint Anthony Abbot was an Egyptian, a hermit who lived in the 300's, died 356. Various stories abound about how he became the patron saint of animals and most have to do with a pig. He is often shown in art with a pig. Some say it is because during his life he would help heal people with pig fat, thus the pig. Others say it has to do the pig as a symbol of gluttony of which anthony was able to shun due to his lifestyle. Others say it is because of his great love of animals. Whatever it is, his feast day is Jan 17th. The Italians celebrate the feast day around this time. Last Sunday one church in Venice was blessing the animals.  On Jan 17th it was celebrated in piazza San Pietro. Yesterday, Jan 22nd the blessing took place at the little church in the Villa borghese. There were tons of dogs, a few cats, two ferrets, lots of horses, a pen full of sheep and one cow. One priest, who very patiently went around and blessed them all. This was followed by free food which was being cooked and disturbed to the crowd.


  1. Really interesting! I always learn from your posts. :) The lambs are sooo cute!

  2. I can't believe I miss this every year!