We journeyed to Assisi, home of St. Francis, patron saint of Italy, and patron saint of birds. The city was especially meaningful to me because Dad wanted St. Francis’ prayer read at his graveside service: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. It’s no wonder that St. Francis prayed this because he considered a heretic in his time. He fought against the corruption he saw in the Catholic Church and advocated Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience. I thought about my daughter, Molly, today, too, because her middle name is “Clare” and St. Clare was also from Assisi, forming a woman’s order that was the counterpart to the Franciscans. At age 18 she rebelled against her wealthy family and the church and chose to go around in rags begging. I can just imagine how well that went over with her parents. She was either crazy or had true courage. Part of her famous prayer is:
Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of our hearts. Grant us a correct faith. certain hope, and a perfect charity, sense, and knowledge, Lord, that we may carry out your holy and true commands.
Along with the other interesting facts about this city on the hill, our guide told us that a typical tourist activity is to pray in the basilica. So, in Italy, you eat spaghetti, look at beautiful art, buy leather, and say a prayer. St. Francis would have hated the “plasicization” (I know that’s not a word), of the faith: the glow-in-the-dark rosaries, and the plastic statues of St. Francis.
The ancient little town was darling with winding streets and quaint staircases. I really liked it there. We are now in Rome and gearing up for a marathon day. My family tends to go hard all morning and then relax a bit in the afternoon. On this trip I've seen that I have more stamina that I ever thought possible because we are walking from early morning to dinner at 7:30. Whew!