after just over six months, our adventure of world-schooling, serving, and discovery came to an end, curtailed by corona concerns. in the months ahead we will continue to share our journey retroactively through this blog. as we write.edit. recall and post these stories, we do so with deep gratitude for the blessing of each person, place and encounter along the way, especially as we recognize that we share these moments in a world very different from the one in which they were lived. thank you for joining us as we revisit our steps and adventures around the world!
in anticipation of assisi, we listen to brother francis:the barefoot saint of assisi.
like pilgrims ourselves, our expectation to walk his ways increases as we learn stories of this revelling troubadour turned radical follower of Jesus.
our modern-day monastic friend, jeff pratt, leads annual pilgrimages to assisi and gives us some tips for our visit. first san damiano, the church franics helped re-build in his early years. the quiet is thick here. the stones made holy by stories and time.
we find a memorial for clare, the girl who joined francis mission of generosity and service, eventually becoming the first woman to write a rule of life for religious women and leading a community of “poor ladies.” the room is appropriatley bare. a plaque in the corner bears this inscription: clare died exclaiming: go in peace my blessed soul! he who has created you has always loved you tenderly, as a mother loves her little child. and you, lord, be blessed for you have created me.
after san domiano, ian and the boys drive on while i ascend the mile-long path to assisi town. thankful for the gift of sunshine and a few solitary strides.
the city of assisi is enchanting –— quiet cobblestone streets that slow our pace. we are torn: to linger or to explore. with ony a few hours left of daylight (and knowing that the art of lingering often takes more time), we choose the latter. traverse the center square, peek into churches, hike up to rocca maggiore (the castle that protected assisi for 800 years) and then down to the basilica of st. francis on the far side of the town. the basilica was built to honor francis. it holds his remains, and is decorated with frescoes marking scenes from his life, but we wonder that a saint who embraced poverty and simplicity would have thought of its opulance.
we end the day with a drive to the summit of mt. subasio. twilight sky. shivering. this is the essence of our assisi. we are poor and small in such splendor. captivated by views we can barely see, and compelled to return tomorrow. to hike. run. explore. and abide a little longer in the sun-lit wonder.