Some years ago, I had the good fortune to walk the peaceful paths of Assisi. How could a place ravaged by earthquakes and persistent, blustery winds be so peaceful. Amidst the bustling winds and rubble of buildings damaged by quakes, is a presence of peace palpable in the air.
It pervades the rubble, pervades the small passageways and mountain paths and invades the spirit and heart. Walking Assisi forever changes each tourist.
The usual “touristy” shops lined the passageways and hillside of Assisi. St. Francis mugs and St. Francis postcards stare up at you as you walk by. But buying them, did not feel right to me.
Mounted on walls of all the passageways, were little boxes, donation boxes for the animals. And there were rescue dogs roaming the fields of Assisi.
I chose to bypass the St. Francis mugs and drop a donation in the box along the way.
Upon leaving Assisi, I was saddened that I did not purchase a “touristy” memento to take home.
Our next stop was the catacombs. As I walked into the gift shop, a beautiful little statue of St. Francis with the wolf looked up at me. I smiled, and knew they would be coming home. And they have found a home on my bedroom bureau ever since; a reminder of the peace and sacredness of this mountainous place. Strong and harsh mountainous winds and energy, powerfully stretching to touch the hand of God and surrounding all who visit with an aura of peace.
I have officiated at Blessings of the Animals ceremonies……..here are some photos. It has been a privilege to be part of the reverence for this kind and gentle man.
St. Francis is honored on October 4th ………his date of death has been recorded as October 3rd, in 1226 and this day is honored by the German Evangelical Church.