According to the Nobel Prize–winning French author Anatole France, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a critter lover who disagreed with the verity of that statement. So in exaltation of our beloved furry friends, La Casa de Maria is having its first Celebration of the Animals. The event comes a week before the Feast Day of St. Francis (October 4), a centuries-old occasion held in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, who rhapsodized about the importance of nature and her creatures. Attendees are invited to bring their fuzzy, scaly, or feathered friends for a blessing on the steps of La Casa de Maria Chapel and to remember cherished animals who have passed on. The Celebration of the Animals takes place Monday, September 29, 10 a.m., at La Casa de Maria, 800 El Bosque Rd. For more info, call 969-5031 or visit


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