For many years, alumni pilgrims have asked for “more”. Beyond Assisi is a response to this request.
This fourteen day pilgrimage will take the participant to many areas of Italy that have produced faithful followers of SS. Francis and Clare and have strongly influenced the development and history of the Franciscan movement.
This is a very exciting and life enhancing pilgrimage, affording the participant a wonderful experience of outstanding beauty and serenity of central Italy. Rome and Assisi will be the anchor points of the pilgrimage.
Tentative Daily Schedule
The following schedule is tentative. The final pilgrimage may undergo slight modifications to accommodate sanctuary schedules.
Tentative Daily Schedule
Departure for your pilgrimage to Bella Italia, beautiful Italy!
Arrival in Rome and transfer by bus to Assisi to begin a pilgrimage to Franciscan places rarely seen. When he was dying, St. Francis said, “I have done what is mine to do; may the Lord show you what is yours.” Beyond Assisi will explore the places where Franciscan saints and blesseds enfleshed these words in the generations following the death of Francis. After we’ve settled into our air-conditioned quarters at Domus Pacis, a short walk from St. Mary of the Angels—the Portiuncola, there will be an orientation followed by cena (supper).
We approach this day as one of friendship, peace, and reconciliation. We will travel to Gubbio, famous for the story of Francis taming a ferocious wolf and for the Sentiero Francescano della Pace,the path that Francis took from Assisi to Gubbio after renouncing his family. We will visit the Church of San Francesco built at the site of the home of Francis’ friend, Federico Spadalunga. We will begin with a lecture on “Reconciliation,” followed by the Eucharist, both at the Church of San Francesco. After a picnic pranzo, the bus departs for the brief ride to La Vittorina, the chapel and site of Francis’ encounter with the wolf and where he worked with the lepers of Gubbio. At La Vittorina there will be a prayer service on peace and reconciliation. We will then travel to the Abbey of San Verecondo in Vallingegno, site where Francis worked in the scullery of the Benedictine monks on his way to Gubbio. Cena will be at Domus Pacis.
Today’s focus is on two Franciscan women, Blessed Angelina of Montegiove and the mystic, Saint Angela of Foligno. After breakfast, we depart for Foligno and the Monastery of Sant’Anna for a lecture on “Blessed Angelina of Montegiove,” followed by Eucharist in the chapel where she is buried. Pranzo will be back at Domus Pacis. In the afternoon we return to Foligno and the Church of San Francesco for a lecture on “Saint Angela of Foligno,” followed by a prayer service. Before departing Foligno, we will walk to the Piazza della Repubblica for a prayerful reading of the account of the young Francis selling his father’s horse and bolts of cloth in Foligno to pay for the restoration of the dilapidated church of San Damiano. Cena will be at Domus Pacis.
Today we depart for the hill town of Cortona under the Tuscan sun to celebrate two controversial early Franciscans, St. Margaret of Cortona and Brother Elias, intimate friend of St. Francis, architect of the Basilica of St. Francis, and General Minister of the Order at the time of Francis’ death. Upon arrival there will be an historical visit to the Church of Santa Margherita followed by Eucharist at her tomb. We will picnic for our pranzo on the shores of a lovely lake where St. Francis spent Lent of 1211, Lago Trasimeno. In the afternoon we make our way to the Church of San Francesco where Brother Elias is buried, for a lecture on the “Rehabilitation of Brother Elias” and a prayer service. We return to Domus Pacis for a lecture on “The Mysticism of Jacopone da Todi” followed by cena.
In the morning we depart for the ancient Umbrian city of Todi to visit the shrine of Blessed Jacopone da Todi, the famous 13th century Franciscan poet and composer of Lauds. There will be an historical visit and a Eucharist celebrated at the tomb of Blessed Jacopone in Todi’s Church of San Fortunato. We return to Domus Pacis for pranzo. In the afternoon we travel to Monteripido inPerugia, to the shrine honoring Brother Giles, one of the first companions of Francis. Upon arrival there will be a lecture on “Brother Giles and His Writings” and a visit of this sanctuary. The bus will return to Domus Pacis for cena.
Today we return to the theme of solitude and one of Francis’ writings that issued from his time in solitude on LaVerna. We depart for the mountain hermitage above the city of Spoleto, Monteluco. Here both Francis and Anthony of Lisbon/Padua lived for a time. An historical visit will be followed by Eucharist. At noon there will be a lecture on “Francis, the Letter Writer” in preparation for our visit to Spoleto. After a picnic pranzo near the “Sacred Woods” that remains a holy site since ancient Roman times, the bus departs for Spoleto, the city of Francis’ dream of the hall of shields and God telling him to abandon his knightly pursuits and return to Assisi where it will be shown him what was his to do. We make our way to the Cathedral of Spoleto which houses one of the two holographs we have in Francis’ own handwriting, the Letter to Brother Leo. After a prayerful viewing of a crucifix painted by Alberto Sozio in 1187 that closely resembles the more famous Crucifix of San Damiano, we make our way to the holograph of St. Francis, where there will be a meditative reading after which the bus returns us to Domus Pacis for our cena.
Today will be completely free for you to visit and reconnect with your favorite sanctuaries of Saints Francis and Clare in Assisi.
Today we leave for Rome by way of the Lo Speco di Narni, one of St. Francis’ hermitage caves south of Assisi, where the friars still live the rhythm of St. Francis’ Document on Solitude. We will celebrate Eucharist in the hermitage chapel, after which there will be time for prayerful solitude, followed by a picnic lunch in the woods. After lunch, the bus departs for Casa Tra Noi in Rome, our air-conditioned hotel a short walk from Vatican City. Cena will be at the hotel.
Today we pilgrimage to Celano in the beautiful Abruzzi area of Italy east of Rome. At the friary we will have a lecture on the “Theology of Thomas of Celano,” Francis’ first biographer. We will celebrate the Eucharist with the local parish community, followed by a picnic pranzo in the old friary refectory on tables dating from the 1700’s. We will wind our way through the Abruzzi mountains to the town of Tagliacozzo and the Church of San Francesco for a visit to the tomb of Thomas, Saint Francis’ first biographer, after which we will make our way back to Casa Tra Noi for our cena. There will be an evening lecture on “St. Rose of Viterbo” preparing us to visit her sanctuary tomorrow.
Today we make our way to Viterbo, an ancient Etruscan city and the birthplace in 1233 of St. Rose of Viterbo, a Secular Franciscan who is celebrated as a mystic, healer, and a great street-preacher in the tradition of the first followers of Francis. Upon arrival in Viterbo, an historical visit of her shrine and tomb will be followed by Eucharist in the intimate chapel at the Family House of St. Rose. Our coach will return us to Rome where pranzo will be out on one’s own, with free time to visit some sites in the Eternal City. Cena is back at Casa Tra Noi. This
Today we pilgrimage to Bagnoregio, the birthplace of Giovanni di Fidanza—St. Bonaventure, the Seraphic Doctor. On arrival we will celebrate the liturgy of St. Bonaventure in the Cathedral of Bagnoregio, followed by an historical visit of the cathedral which houses a small art collection of the Seraphic Doctor as well as the only surviving relic of his body. Pranzo will be at the restaurant, Il Ponte, with a beautiful view of the ancient city. After pranzo, we will take the walk-bridge up to Cività, the ancient city on the hill, to visit the remains of Bonaventure’s family home followed by a prayer service in the original Cathedral of San Donato where Bonaventure was baptized. We return to Casa Tra Noi for our cena.
We depart Rome for Anagni, where St. Clare was canonized by Pope Alexander IV in 1255. Upon arrival, we will celebrate Eucharist in the Cathedral, Santa Maria, site of St. Clare’s canonization. It was Bishop Federico Visconti of Anagni who formerly petitioned Rome for Clare’s canonization. Later in the morning, in the Palace of Boniface VIII, there will be a lecture on “The Four Popes” born in Anagni, all of whom are connected to the Franciscan story: Innocent III (1198-1216), Gregory IX (1227-1241), Alexander IV (1254-1261), and Boniface VIII (1294-1303). Our picnic pranzo will be at the Palace of Boniface VIII. In the afternoon we will wind our way to the hidden hermitage at Bellegra, known as the Nido dei Santi, the Nest of Saints and close our visit with a special “Litany of Saints.” Cena will be served at Casa Tra Noi.
In the morning we make our way to the church of St. Bonaventure on the Palatine Hill in Rometo visit the tomb of St. Leonard of Port Maurice, one of the great Franciscan preachers. He is considered the founder of the Franciscan tradition of parish missions, and on the Palatine Hill he popularized the devotion of the Stations of the Cross as a way of making the Jerusalem Way of the Cross available to everyone. Eucharist will be celebrated in the choir of the friars. Pranzo is out on one’s own with the afternoon free to enjoy the sites of Rome. We will close our pilgrimage with a festive cena at Hostaria Gran Sasso in the Trastevere section of Rome.
Arrivederci Bella Italia!