“Hic locus sanctus est.” This inscription,which translates to “This is a holy place,” can be found at the entrance to the little chapel of Porziuncula in Assisi. The tiny church, which now is enclosed within the walls of St. Mary of the Angels Basilica, is the chapel St. Francis restored after having a vision in which Christ told Francis to rebuild his church.
Seven centuries later, the impact of Francis continues to be felt on this medieval hill town, lending it a very special feel. To stand in the Basilica of Saint Francis and see the Giotto frescoes depicting the life of the saint has ensured I will be reading whatever I can about him when I return home.
Especially moving is the Hermitage of Saint Francis, high above the town, where the silent woods and the sweeping vista of the valley below make it easy to understand the love Francis had for nature. Just down the mountain is San Damiano, the Convent of Saint Clare, a place of peace and solace far removed from the fast pace of Rome. Both are clearly places of prayers, holy places.
It is impossible to visit Assisi and not be touched by a young man who so long ago gave up a life of privilege and power for one of humility and simplicity. Out of that humility and simplicity though, came a philosophy of immeasurable richness, one that is as much in need today as it was in the time of Francis: pax et bonum—peace and good.
-Catherine Mulroney, Editor of Living with Christ