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Catholic Dictionary




Symbols of the Twelve Apostles, with CHrist in the center as the Good Shepherd. A later symbol early found in the catacombs shows Our Lord either supporting a wounded sheep on his shoulder with the other sheep nearby or the Shepherd rescuing the wandering lost ewe caught in a briary thicket. The twenty-third psalm speaks of "the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." In song and story it is illustrative of God's providence and concern. Sheep are symbols of docility, humility, and long suffering, all attributes expected of those who follow the Lamb of God. Sheep are also an emblem of St. Germaine (c. 1579-1601), the poor abandoned child of Pibrac, near Toulouse in France.