Monday, May 21, 2007

Tomorrow a group of faculty and staff from the University of Saint Francis and St. Bonaventure University begin their Franciscan pilgrimage. They will visit Assisi, La Verna, Greccio, Civita and Rome. I will be supporting the guides this year, Father Andre and Sister Anne, by offering morning and evening prayers.

I was fortunate to go on this pilgrimage last year. For me it was life-altering. It was a time to connect with saints, holy places and to integrate the spiritual development portion of my Pastoral Counseling training. Over the course of the next 11 days I will recall highlights of the pilgrimage. The goal is to set me in the right frame of mind to support the current pilgrimage and simply to offer thanksgiving.

I was surprised by the beauty that was Assisi. It was an authentic medieval city on the side of a mountain. Churches, Basilicas and art were everywhere. Assisi is a walled city with large stone gates and a fortress looking down on the city. Birds fly and sing, the air is rich with the aroma of blossoms, grape vineyards and olive gardens. The food was fantastic and the readings, services and fellowship was deeply touching.

My friends are about to embark on a pilgrimage that will change them forever.

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