Giovanni di Fidanza, later known as St. Bonaventure
12 days
Italy & France

Fr. Andre Cirino, OFM
Mr. Josef Raischl, OFS
Sr. Nancy Celaschi, OSF

The birth of one of the most distinguished friars of the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition will be celebrated this year: Giovanni di Fidanza, later known as St. Bonaventure. Although scholars have different opinions concerning the actual date of St. Bonaventure’s birth, many have settled on 1217. While we are within this decade of the new millennium and with this specific date in mind, we invite you to celebrate the eighth centenary of the birth of the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, by attending a pilgrimage to Italy which birthed him and to France which birthed him into the Franciscan Order.

Here is the itinerary for this wonderful pilgrimage. Remember, based on changing circumstances, some elements of this pilgrimage may need to be adjusted.


Pilgrimage Timeline

Saturday July 8—Flight to Italy

All international pilgrims depart for the Eternal City of Rome.

Sunday July 9—Arrival & Journey to Oasi Gesù Bambino, Greccio

You will be met at Rome’s Fiumicino airport by your Staff and brought by coach to your lodging in Greccio at Oasi Gesú Bambino (OGB). Upon arrival, you will have time to rest after which the Eucharist will be celebrated and the Staff will facilitate an orientation session followed by cena, your evening meal.

Monday July 10—Bagnoregio, Birthplace of St. Bonaventure

After Breakfast and morning prayer, we will view the life of St. Bonaventure and his birthplace in preparation for our pilgrimage to Bagnoregio, the birthplace of the Seraphic Doctor. Following pranzo, we will depart for Bagnoregio. On arrival we will visit the new Cathedral of Bagnoregio dedicated to St. Bonaventure, which houses a small art gallery of the Seraphic Doctor, as well as the only remaining relic. We then take the walk-bridge to Cività, the ancient city on the hill, to visit the remains of Bonaventure’s family home. We will celebrate Eucharist in the original Cathedral of San Donato where Bonaventure was baptized. After visiting Cività, our coach will return us to OGB for cena.

Tuesday July 11—Greccio, St. Bonaventure & Blessed John of Parma

After breakfast and morning prayer, we will listen to a lecture on St. Bonaventure’s theology with a short break before another presentation on St. Bonaventure’s predecessor in the Order’s leadership, Blessed John of Parma who was accused of the heresy of Joachimism. Following pranzo and a rest, we’ll walk to the sanctuary of Greccio where John of Parma spent the last three decades of his life. After an historical visit, we’ll celebrate Eucharist. An evening presentation will prepare us for our visit to La Verna the next day. We’ll conclude the day with evening prayer and cena.

Wednesday July 12—LaVerna, Itinerarium Mentis in Deum

After an early breakfast, our coach will depart for LaVerna, the Calvary of the Franciscan Order, where in 1259 St. Bonaventure spent forty days and nights. He climbed the mountain because he “was moved by a divine inspiration and withdrew to Mount LaVerna since it was a place of quiet. There I wished to satisfy the desire of my spirit for peace.” We’ll visit the cave-chapel where he spend his prayer time, and the inspiration to compose his celebrated work: Itinerarium Mentis in Deum—The Journey into God. We will celebrate Eucharist right above his cave-chapel. After a picnic lunch, we’ll make our way towards northern Italy where we will lodge for the night. Cena will be at our pensione.

Thursday, July 13—Travel to Lyon from Italy

After breakfast, we’ll continue on our journey to Lyon where St. Bonaventure died. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch along the way. Upon arrival at Franciscan La Chardonniere (FLC), we’ll settle in and enjoy supper and a rest in preparation for our visit to the city on the next day.

Friday, July 14—Cathedral of Lyon, Second Council

After breakfast, there will be a presentation about the Second Council of Lyon which St. Bonaventure attended at the invitation of Pope Gregory X. A morning presentation on the council and Bonaventure’s participation will happen before we depart for the Cathedral. After our coach leaves us at the Cathedral, we will have an historical visit followed by Eucharist. Lunch will be on one’s own and the afternoon will be free to explore Lyon. Our coach will return us to FLC for evening prayer of Feast of St. Bonaventure and supper.

Saturday, July 15 Feast of Saint Bonaventure at His Church of Burial

We will have the privilege of celebrating the actual feast of St. Bonaventure in his burial church in Lyon. After breakfast and morning prayer, we will have a presentation on St. Bonaventure’s writings, with attention to his mystical writings. Then we will depart for Sanctuaire Saint Bonaventure where we will celebrate Eucharist at the altar which once entombed his body. Lunch will be back at FLC, and after some rest, we’ll again make our way back to the Sanctuaire Saint Bonaventure for an historical visit. Early evening, we will be treated to a festive supper.

Sunday July 16—Depart for Paris—Vézelay, Friars’ Hermitage

After an early breakfast we will depart for Paris via Vézelay, the first eremitical site of the early friars in France. After Eucharist and a visit, we will enjoy a picnic lunch, then continue our journey to Paris arriving for our evening meal at our lodging.

Monday July 17—Cathedral of St. Denis & University of Paris

After breakfast, we will depart for the Cathedral of St. Denis for an historical visit and celebration of the Eucharist of St. Louis IX before his relics among the tombs of the French Kings. We will return for our lunch and rest after which there will be some input on the concept of the Medieval University. Following this presentation, we will visit the University of Paris where Bonaventure both studied, wrote, and taught. Following this visit, we’ll return for supper.

Tuesday July 18Notre Dame & Free time

Bonaventure would have known and visited Notre Dame, so after breakfast, we’ll depart for the Cathedral of Notre Dame for an historical visit and final Eucharist. One cannot visit such an important European city and not have some free time to visit some favorite places in Paris such as the Sainte Chapelle, Sacré Coeur, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, etc. Lunch is on one’s own. Early evening, we will be treated to a festive supper.

Wednesday July 19—Departure for Home

Each pilgrimage eventually comes to an end and the pilgrims pack their luggage (usually a bit heavier than at arrival) for the return home. The biggest item taken home, however, is the collage of memories, which, in the words of Thomas Rossica, “weigh nothing and can be enjoyed for a long time.” All flights back home will be from Paris airport.

Pilgrimage cost includes: pensioni that is clean, comfortable, secure and well located; three meals per day with few exceptions; transportation by air-conditioned coach; all tips, offerings and sanctuary fees; books, notebooks, full services of staff; daily input with lectures and conferences. Snacks and shopping not included.

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