Sabbatical Week 6

For most of this week I remained based in Assisi, but would head out on day trips after Morning Prayer, then get back in time most nights for Evensong and Benediction at San Damiano. Since I’m meeting Erwin at the Rome airport on Monday the 16th, I decided to spend the weekend in Rome and get a quick overdose of church!


Happy to have hiked the 2.5 miles up Mt. Subasio (which feels more like 5 miles!) to the Hermitage of the Carceri, where St. Francis and his brothers used to pray.


These guys were serious about bare-bones prayer. This is Brother Leo’s prayer grotto downhill from St. Francis’s.


These are some of the olive trees that surround the Church of San Damiano, my favorite of the Assisi churches.


The city of Perugia is about 17 miles from Assisi. This is the view from Perugia (Assisi is the cluster of rocky area halfway down Mt. Subasio. It was to Perugia that Francis went off to fight, but was captured and imprisoned there. later in life, Francis and St. Dominic met in Perugia.


A crucifix painted in 1272 by the Maestro di San Francesco, now in the National Gallery of Perugia. The Virgin Mary and St. John are on the wings of the crucifix while St. Francis kneels at the foot of the cross, contemplating the wounds in the feet of Christ.


Angela of Foligno (1248-1209) in the Church of St. Francis in Foligno. Not the best memorial to a woman who was nicknamed “Magistra theologorum,” or Master of theologians. A lay preacher, teacher, and wise woman, she was part of the second generation of followers of St. Francis. I can think of a LOT better ways to remember her… (But the folks in Foligno haven’t asked for my input!)


This is an artistic enlargement of St. Francis’s blessing to Brother Leo, written in Francis’s own hand and signed with his customary Tau. The original is in Assisi in the Basilica, but this painting is on the door at San Francesco a Ripa, in Trastevere, Rome. The church is built on the site of the hospice where Francis used to stay when he visited Rome. The church has preserved the room where he slept and a rock pillow he supposedly used.


On Sunday, I began the day with Eucharist at All Saints Anglican Church (shown here.). That afternoon, I was able to attend the Spanish Mass at San Pablo dentro de Los Muros, the Latinoamericana congregation of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Rome. Both, wonderful congregations.


I finished the Sunday by attending the Gregorian chant vespers at the Benedictine Sant’ Anselmo. I lost count of the monks after 60, as they processed into the church (the gathering included the college, the monastery, and visiting monks.). Amazing Alleluias for the last Sunday before Lent.

About John F. Beddingfield

Rector of The Church of the Holy Trinity (Episcopal) in New York City on East 88th Street between 1st Ave and 2nd Ave.
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