Today we all traveled to Assisi by train. We prayed our Morning Prayer as the train rolled through the incredibly beautiful Umbrian countryside with picturesque towns crowned with the local Church at the top of the hill. We had a wonderful tour guide, Mother Regina Pacis, who took us to many significant and beautiful places from the life of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. Several of our religious communities were grounded in the Rule of St. Francis, which provided additional stories or memories of those who lived the Franciscan charism.
We first went to the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli, which was built around the Portiuncula, where Saint Francis and his first followers prayed. We arrived just in time for the 11AM Mass to celebrate the Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul. Mother Regina Pacis showed us the spot of St. Francis’ death, the rose garden, and the hut where he lived in utter simplicity.
At the Basilica of St. Francis, we prayed at the tomb of St. Francis. Art depicting the vows and the life of St. Francis were explained in its richness of meaning by Mother. We spent time in prayer, and then had the option of visiting the Church where St. Clare was baptized as a bambina. We all prayed in front of the Cross of San Damiano and at the tomb of St. Clare at her Basilica. Relics included her golden tresses and an alb she had embroidered for the priest who served her Poor Ladies.
The train ride home took a bit longer than expected, which provided nice community time – and we had quite a good time, with several Sister’s sense of humor coming out. It was a day rich in grace, walking (over 5.5 miles), and laughter.
The Transitus Chapel at St. Mary of the Angels
Sisters outside the Basilica of St. Francis
More Sisters outside the Basilica of St. Francis
The Tomb of St. Francis
Mother Regina Pacis explaining the lower Basilica frescos
The Basilica of St. Francis and the whole group
Sisters praying in front of the body of St. Clare
A beautiful blessing on a gate leading to Assisi