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Chiesa Nuova

Chiesa NuovaThe DNA of Francis is pure mystery. How Pietro di Bernadone, a cloth merchant aggressively seeking his fortune, and gentle Pica, with her elegant Provençal ways, created one of the world’s most sensitive human beings is a testament to the subtleties of the Spirit. Two more different people could hardly be imagined.

We visit the church built over Francis’ birth home and the layers of complexity unravel. Francis, learning songs and tales of chivalry from his mother. Coming home in the wee hours after nights of carousing and revelry. Apprenticed into the family business yet dreaming of knighthood. Ransomed from prison only to find home almost as conflictual.

Our visit to Chisa Nuova commemorates both Francis’s family of origin and the kinds of relational tensions and conflicts that profound change sometimes provokes. In our reflections we note the dynamics of spiritual growth and the kinds of relational support that our growth requires. We ask which of the relationships in our lives are helping us grow toward our spiritual and human potential and grow in gratitude for those who walk with us on the journey.

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About the author
Gillian Ahlgren
Dr. Ahlgren has been teaching the Christian mystical tradition to college-age students, graduate students, and adult learners for over 26 years. She is an internationally-recognized scholar of the tradition, an experienced spiritual director, and engages a regular practice of contemplative prayer. A popular teacher, public speaker and writer, she also gives several retreats per year. She is the Founding Director of Xavier University’s Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice.