“Sacrament.” One of the most famous of the miracles of S. Antony of Padua, wrought for the conversion of heretics, was that of a mule, belonging to one Bovidilla, a blasphemer of the Sacrament. The animal, although it had been, as agreed, kept fasting for three days, refused to turn to a sieve of oats held out by its master, but fell down upon its knees and adored the Host which the Saint was carrying in the ostensory. Some narratives of the fourteenth century say this happened at Toulouse, and some name Bruges, but the actual place Rimini. In the basilica Il Santo, at Padua, this miracle is depicted more than once. There is a bronze bas-relief by Donatello in the Chapel of the Sacrament, and a fresco by Campagnola. The same subject was painted by Van Dyck for the Recollects at Malines.
Animals have been known to distinguish Our Lord’s Body in the Host, a fact which, when one considers their sense and intelligence, is not at all surprising.
At the trial of the Satanist Louis Gaufridi it was proved that upon one occasion during their accursed rites a dog was led in to devour the consecrated Species, but he stretched out his paws in adoration before the Body of Christ and bowed down his head, nor could kicks nor blows compel him to stir. Several of the devotees broke down into tears and began loudly to bewail their sins, after which it was decreed in future that the Host should be defiled, but that no animals must be admitted. See my “Geography of Witchcraft,” pp. 410-411.
S. Optatus tells us that certain Donatists once threw the Host to some hungry dogs, who suddenly turned on the heretics and tore them to pieces.