In the Catholic tradition, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, is celebrated each fall. Shortly before or after that day, many churches of various denominations hold special Blessing of the Animals ceremonies. The ceremonies honor St. Francis and his love of animals. The churches follow in the footsteps of the beloved saint by acknowledging the infinite value and preciousness of all of God’s creatures great and small.
And those creatures can have a life-changing impact on our lives. Their unconditional love can not only bring us joy, it can help us to be more loving to and appreciative of others. Their ability to overlook our faults and forgive us for our mistakes can help us to forgive others. The bond they share with us can even provide therapy and assistance to people with a wide variety of issues and medical conditions. And their ability to learn to use their gifts to serve and protect communities is nothing short of amazing.
Considering the powerful connection many of us experience with animals, it’s no wonder that films featuring them can touch our hearts and have an enduring impact on our lives. They can inspire audiences for generations and move us in a variety of positive ways. But many of these films can enrich our faith as well. Even independent and mainstream secular films sometimes reflect Christian values. Here are six such films, from as early as 1944 through 2016, that have inspired many and should continue to do so for a long time to come.