Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Assisi Again

I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Assisi, the home of St. Francis and St. Clare. It was wonderful to be back in that peaceful place with its narrow, winding cobblestone streets lined with stone houses covered in clinging ivy. After we had arrived and checked into our charming old hotel, Olivia and I traipsed around town, stopping at several shops and the Gran Cafe for some gelato. Then we walked up to the church of St. Rufino for Mass. Afterwards, Fr. Ron talked about the history of the church, and told us that beneath the sacristy was a small chamber in which Francis used to pray. The chamber was closed to visitors, but Olivia, Brian and I very much wanted to see it, so we stole into the sacristy and asked the religious sister there if we could go down into the chamber. Graciously, she let us, and we were able to spend a few minutes there in prayer.

The following day, the university ran tours of Assisi's important locations for the students, but I used that time to walk around on my own. It was like a private retreat. I walked alone down the hill to San Damiano, enjoying the warm sunshine as I passed by olive groves and orchards. I saw the original chapel, refectory, and choir of the cloister founded by St. Clare, as well as her own bedroom. Afterward, I walked along a shaded path that wound around the outside wall of the cloister before heading back up to Assisi for lunch.

 The few days we spent in Assisi flew by- the other highlights included our trek up to St. Francis' hermitage in the hills, a musical about the life of St. Pio, and sitting beside Assisi's castle on a hill, watching the sunset. It was like a dream.
The Walk to San Damiano

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