Saint Francis

Francis and the Wolf

Francis and the Wolf, 2002

John August Swanson

serigraph, 48 colors, edition size: 225

paper: Coventry, 100% cotton rag, white vellum, acid free, mould made in USA, 290 gsm/m2


Francis and the Wolf, 2002
Francis and the Wolf, 2002 John August Swanson
















On View in Reardon Rectory – Second Floor


Francis and the Wolf is an original, hand-printed serigraph published by Swanson with collaboration of master printer James F. Butterfield II at Aurora Serigraphic Studio, Van Nuys, California.

The serigraph’s central panel shows Francis sitting with the wolf lying at his feet.  They are surrounded by dense forest and other wild creatures.  Bordering the top and bottom of the main scene are ten miniatures depicting Francis’ life.  These emphasize his celebration of God’s creation and his compassion and care for all living things.  Four miniature panels on each side refer to the beauty and wonder of creation as expressed in Francis’s “Canticle of Brother Sun.”


This work developed from Swanson’s series depicting the life of Francis of Assisi.  Villagers of Gubbio, Italy expressed their deep concern to Brother Francis about a wolf that preyed upon their livestock and threatened travelers.  Francis entered the woods and implored the wolf to live in peace with all creation.  The wolf agreed.


Swanson states, “In my painting, Francis sits and listens to the wolf’s own story of fear in the face of the villagers’ cruelty…. I see Francis as a minstrel singing to the wolf.  Nature understands the song of Francis, which echoes the stories and songs of all people: Native Americans, Greeks (Orpheus), and Hebrews (David).  These stories and songs honor the Creator and move people to care for all creation.”


Dimension: Image: 26" x 18"
                 Paper: 30" x 22"

Country: USA

Rights: © John August Swanson,

Classification: serigraph


Reflection or Prayer:

Excerpt from "Canticle of Brother Sun"

May you be praised, O Lord, by all creatures,
But especially by our brother, the sun
Who brings us the day
And allows you to shine on us!

May you be praised, O Lord,
For our sisters, the stars and the moon,
Which you have scattered through the heavens,
Clear, precious, and beautiful!

May you be praised, O Lord,
For our mother, the earth,
Who gives us shelter and nourishment
Abundant fruits, varied herbs, and flowers!

May you be praised, O Lord,
For all those who,
Because they love you,
Pardon others
And support the weak and sick.

May you be praised, O Lord,
For all who die to establish peace.
May all of them be happy in You, O Most High,
And may they receive from You the crown of glory.

Saint Francis