Solitude and Gratitude

The clouds provided a dramatic backdrop to the Basilica of St. Francis today.
The clouds provided a dramatic backdrop to the Basilica of St. Francis today.

Today most of the group took advantage of the free day on our itinerary and went to Florence with Steve and Nancy. I decided to remain in Assisi and had the day mostly to myself.

Before I begin to describe my solo day on this pilgrimage, I have to say a word or two about my fellow pilgrims: Sheila and Joel C-A.; Susan and Hein DH.; Bob and Terry H.; Tom and Patty J.; Kris and John J; Patti H., Barb V., Dick P., and Barb VH. Along with our pilgrimage directors, Nancy and Steve, I could not have found a better group of people to make this pilgrimage with me. We have listened to and learned from one another. We have shared many stories: some painful, some moving and a few humorous, all the while looking out for one another and taking delight in each other’s company. As I prayed at the tomb of St. Francis this morning, my heart was full of gratitude for such wonderful traveling companions.

Many of our group gathered near the fireplace where St. Francis sat in the ashes to make a point to the other friars.
Many of our group gathered near the fireplace where St. Francis sat in the ashes to make a point to the other friars.

* * * * *

My post will be short as we are preparing to leave for Greccio. Yesterday, I spent the day in Assisi and took some extended time visiting the Basilica of St. Francis and soaking in the art, the beauty and the spirit of this marvelous space. After viewing the Upper and Lower Basilicas, I proceeded to the tomb of St. Francis where I spent an hour in prayer. During this time I lifted up family, friends, co-workers, retreatants and acquaintances or friends of friends. I was blessed that the time in the tomb was relatively quiet; even when a large group would come into the area, they became still as they approached the altar and made their way around it.

What can I say except that my time there was very special and very moving to me. Again, my heart is filled with gratitude to so many who made my journey here possible.

Ciao Assisi!

 

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