Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Assisi Pilgrimage: One Year Ago
A year ago I experienced Assisi. We stayed at Casa Papa Giovani’s. We were two blocks from the piazza with its fountain, Roman Temple, underground forum and cafes. Above us was the Cathedral of St. Rufino. Above that, overlooking the town was the fortress and wall, the Rocca Maggiore. Walk in one direction and you were at the Basilica of St. Clare, in the other direction was the Basilica of St. Francis. Below was the Church of Santa Marie Maggiore. The New Church, St. Stephens’ the base of St. Nicholas church were all right there.
Our first lecture, given by Sister Margaret Carney, was on the historical/political/economic context of the lives of the saints in Assisi. We walked around town, had a wonderful meal and then we gathered in our chapel.
The chapel had once served as a stable, the pension had once been a family palace. During WW II it also served as one of the many Assisi Hospitals. We had our first service in this chapel. We prayed, we sang. Our guides handed out our pilgrim’s books. The books are wonderful and describe all that we would see. Our guides than gave each of us our Tau crosses, the cross of the pilgrims. I have worn mine everyday since receiving it.
That evening I tried to find St. Stephens but I walked right past it. So I kept walking. I walked out of town, through the gates and to the side of the mountain. I tried to find a path to the fortress. I simply got lost, outside of town on the side of a mountain. It is wonderful! I went back to town and with my friends we gathered at the fountain and had gelato a smooth, rich ice cream dish. It was a wonderful first night in Assisi.
And now my friends, this years’ pilgrims, will be forming their own experiences of this city of peace.