Tag Archives: St. Francis of Assisi

Away on Pilgrimage… Again!

In just a few hours, I’ll be en route to Italy with Peter-George, Pius, and Etsy to visit our friend Mario, who’s a seminarian at the NAC. I’ve known these four friends for ten years, and since high school we’ve had a tradition of celebrating New Year’s together. Since Mario missed last year’s festivities and can’t make it home for the party this year either, we’re taking the party to him! We’ve been calling this trip a vacation – which it is, of course – but I can’t visit all those holy places without feeling like it’s something of a pilgrimage as well.

Our Lady of Grace street altar

Our Lady of Grace – one of my favorite photos from my last trip to Rome

I saw Rome and Assisi for the first time on a school trip with Mom when I was sixteen. All in all, we had a lovely time – but at that point in my life, I wasn’t prepared to take in the full spiritual significance of what I was seeing. There were a few meaningful moments – like the time I took to sit and pray before the tomb of St. Clare (my first real experience of the Communion of Saints!) – but the whole trip felt so rushed that I just kept thinking: “I have to come back; I have to come back and give myself time to soak it all in!”

Several years ago, I began praying for the opportunity to return to Assisi before my consecration to thank Clare and Francis for all they’ve done for me as my patron saints (my middle name’s Claire – spelled as the French variant to honor my heritage), particularly in regard to helping me discover my vocation. Our World Youth Day pilgrimage this August was originally supposed to include a day trip to Assisi, which got my hopes up – but then plans changed, and needless to say, I was a bit disappointed. It was wonderful to spend those few days in Rome, but I still wished I could have paid a visit to Clare and Francis.

Still of Mary Petruolo (Clare) and Ettore Bassi (Francis) from the film "Clare and Francis" by Lux Vide/Ignatius Press

Still of Mary Petruolo (St. Clare) and Ettore Bassi (St. Francis) from the film "Clare and Francis" by Lux Vide and Ignatius Press (www.ignatius.com/promotions/clare-and-francis-movie/)

Then Peter-George decided to make this trip a reality (we’d been daydreaming about it for a year!), and the good Lord arranged not only for me to make the trip, but to travel with four of my dearest friends and make an overnight visit to Assisi. What a beautiful Christmas gift! Our good God is never outdone in generosity.

Please say a prayer for Peter-George, Pius, Etsy, Mario and me – that this time spent together would be blessed and fruitful, that in our prayer we could each gain a greater clarity regarding God’s will for our lives, and that this Christmas season would refresh our souls and draw us all closer to the loving Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

A presto!



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On the Calendar: The Stigmata of St. Francis

El Greco, St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, c. 1585-1590

El Greco, St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, c. 1585-1590

Prayer in Honor of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi

By Pope Leo XIII

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who when the world was growing cold, in order that the hearts of men might burn anew with the fire of Your love, did in the flesh of the most blessed Francis reproduce the stigmata of Your passion: be mindful of his merits and prayers; and in Your mercy vouchsafe to us the grace ever to carry Your cross, and to bring forth worthy fruits of penance. Amen.

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On the Calendar: St. Francis of Assisi

Zurbarán, St. Francis in Meditation, c. 1635-39

Zurbarán, St. Francis in Meditation, c. 1635-39

Brothers, look at the humility of God,
and pour out your hearts before Him!
Humble yourselves
that you may be exalted by Him!
Hold back nothing of yourselves
for yourselves,
that He who gives Himself totally to you
may receive you totally!

— St. Francis of Assisi’s Meditation on the Eucharist

St. Francis has always been one of my special patrons. I used to ask him to help me love the poor… Now I ask him to help me become poor myself — simple, little, humble and poor — so I can love Christ the way he loved Him.

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