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Saint Anthony the Abbot, Patron Saint of Animals

By Sandra Ríos

January 17 is celebrated as the day of San Antonio Abad, patron saint of animals. This Saint Anthony, born in a village in upper Egypt south of Memphis in the year 251, is considered to be the great protector of pets and livestock. Anthony was a great admirer of animals, fought for their protection at all times, and had a great passion for them. Much of his life he lived alone in the desert, where he was surrounded by all kinds of animals. It is said that when he saw a wounded animal, he healed it, even removing a thorn from one of the claws of a lion.

In San Miguel de Allende, there is a tradition of going to church on January 17 to have the priest bless all animals and pets, from chickens, turtles, ducks, donkeys, and sheep to dogs and cats, so they can continue to be in good health along with their owners. On this day, it is the custom for people to adorn the animals for consecration with ribbons.

Here are some churches that have this service:

Oratorio San Felipe Neri
Blessing 5-6pm
Insurgentes 12

Parroquia San Miguel Arcángel
Blessing: 5-6pm
Umarán, corner of/esquina con Cuna de Allende

Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua
Blessing: 8-9am and 8-8:30pm
Callejón de San Antonio 1, Colonia San Antonio

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