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Waking up in Assisi isn’t quite like waking up anywhere else. But once you have known morning in Assisi, it is perhaps a little easier to wake up anywhere in the embrace of God. The birds, soaring and singing; the bells of churches pealing; the greens and golds of the valley below; a pure and…

The 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…

In Perugia the plot only thickens. In 1202, at the age of 20, Francis joins others in an elite cavalry to defend the interests of Asissi in battle against the neighboring Perugians. Struck down in battle at Collestrada, his armor signals his potential value to his captors, who take him back to Perugia and hold…

“When I was in sin, it seemed too bitter to me to see lepers. But then God drew me near them, and I felt loving kindness for them. Then after some thought, I left the world.” This paraphrase of Francis’ Testament helps us to understand the primacy of the scorned and rejected in his experience…

The church of San Damiano, outside the city walls, is indelibly linked to the “revolution of tenderness” that Francis and Clare began. I like to think of it as the cradle of the reform movement.

Our journey ends at La Verna, site of deep importance to Francis and to the entire Christian tradition. The land here was given to Francis in 1213, as a place “apt for spiritual retreat and renewal.” During his first visit here, the tradition speaks of Francis’ experience of Christ speaking with him tenderly in friendship….