Ciao everyone! Let’s continue the journey through Italy…
Sunday was largely a travel day since we were moving to Assisi for the rest of the pilgrimage. We first had Mass as a group in a chapel that was St. Bridget’s cell originally. After Mass we got on the bus. The town of Orvieto was on the way to Assisi and that is the site of a Eucharistic Miracle, so we stopped at the church built in honor of it. The story is that a priest was losing his faith in the True Presence of the Eucharist, and one day when He was praying the Mass, the Precious Body started bleeding, and blood dripped onto the corporal, the cloth that sits underneath the Eucharist during Mass. That corporal is inside the church we visited but is not displayed for most of the year. After visiting this church, we had lunch and got back on the road! We stopped at another church in Assis called Our Lady of the Angels. This church was built over a smaller church called the Porzincula, and it was a church given to St. Francis of Assisi to begin his order with. Also inside of Our Lady of the Angels is the site where St. Francis died. It was amazing to realize I was in the exact area where St. Francis lived out many important parts of his life. After this, we checked into our hotel, had dinner, and headed to bed!
As we ventured out on Monday morning, we headed to the Basilica of St. Clare, but happened to pass a church on the way that had the grave of Blessed Carlo Acutis in it! We had no idea we were so close to this church, so naturally, we stopped in and prayed at his grave for a while. Afterward, we continued on to St. Clare’s, one of my favorite churches, named after one of my favorite saints. Inside her basilica is the Cross of San Damiano, which is the cross that Christ spoke through to St. Francis, asking him to rebuild his church. Below the main floor of the church is also where St. Clare is buried, and I spent a long time down there just sitting with one of my oldest heavenly friends. I always loved St. Clare growing up, her story of boldness in the faith was so inspiring to me. After St. Clare’s we walked to the small Church of San Damiano to have Mass. This place was so simple and beautiful, and it also was the place where St. Clare died, and another special moment for me, getting to pray at the place of her death. We had lunch afterward and then headed to the Basilica of St. Francis where, you guessed it, St. Francis is buried! We spent a while there just looking at all the beautiful art and side chapels throughout the whole basilica, and then we had some time to shop or get some coffee before meeting back up for dinner and the hotel for the night.
On Tuesday we hiked up to St. Francis’s hermitage. He lived in the quiet up in the mountains of Assisi, and it was such a peaceful and beautiful place to experience. We had Mass as a group there and then some time to explore the hermitage on our own before heading back into town for lunch. Not long after lunch, it was time to hop on the bus back to Rome to catch out flight back to Krakow. We arrived back in Krakow about 10pm and went to bed not long after since we had class at 11:30am the next morning.
Wednesday was a normal day of class, but everyone was definitely very tired from the six days in Italy. Fortunately, we didn’t have class Thursday or Friday this week, so we were able to take those days as well as the weekend to catch up on sleep and homework. It’s also been great to have this blog to look back on all my experiences here. I saw so many things in Italy, not even mentioning Poland, and it can be easy to forget all the great things God has shown me. It was such a blessing to go to Italy in Lent and reflect on how Christ chose to suffer His Passion for me, and if I was the only human in existence, He still would have gone through with all that pain and torment. Getting to see pieces of His Passion was a very tangible reminder that this faith I practice is very much real, and the suffering Christ went through really did happen. There are saints that have died all throughout the world for this belief, and I hope I can be just as convicted to live out my faith in a world that is growing further and further away from the Christian faith.
Well, that’s a little catch-up on my last two weeks here in Europe! I hope you all enjoyed, and please continue to pray for me during this journey, and I’ll be praying for you all as well! Csesz!