Sunday, October 28, 2018

Assisi in October, 2018

Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
We arrived in Assisi about 3:30 pm  at the train station with the sun shining and our hearts set on spending some time in peace and quiet in the beautiful basilica of St. Francis. Our cab driver had very efficiently brought us to the Istituto Beata Angelina  directly across from the basilica. It is a convent run by the Sisters of the Third Order of Blessed Angelina. Our room looks directly onto the church and the beautiful sweeping landscape to the right and the left of it. The sight fills the soul with beauty and great hope.

A short while after resting we walked to the basilica to take in the sights. We were there with hundreds of others who wish to see this magnificent church and pray to St. Francis. For us it was too busy, too distracting. Somewhere I had read that between 9 and 10 in the evening, there would be silent prayer in the chapel of St. Francis' tomb in the crypt church. It sounded almost too good to be true. I confirmed it with one of the information friars who staff the basilica.

Chapel and tomb of St. Francis

Later that evening, we descended the steep walkway to the lower church and then to St. Francis' tomb. There were, perhaps 40 pilgrims like ourselves who were looking for peace and quiet, to pray in silence at this most magnificent and spiritually significant location. A location which honors a disciple of the Lord's who at His request began repairing His Church which had all too sadly fallen into disrepair. It was a grace-filled time of quiet prayer. All the large groups of pilgrims had left the basilica, only a handful of us were there in the silence. One beautiful family with six children from about a few months old to 14 years prayed quietly - except the baby who gurgled and giggled a bit. The rest of us represented young, middle age and old - couples, religious sisters, priests, and singles - praying quietly, experiencing the gift of being in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord and honoring his faithful disciple, St. Francis.