On Saturday I went on the Assisi pilgrimage day trip. The trip was organized by the school and partially funded by the Director’s Fund and Campus Ministry. Although you can get to Assisi by train, it’s difficult to do in a day because it’s three hours there and back. So it was an opportunity not to miss, and worth every penny! Plus, I am also taking Theology of Pilgrimage for a Theology core this semester, and Assisi is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Italy. After a coffee stop about an hour into the journey and a briefing on the significance of Assisi by the beloved Father Bohr, I was awake and ready to start the day. First we visited Santa Maria degli Angeli, which was just outside of Assisi; we had a briefing and reflection on the life of St. Francis of Assisi by a friar and then we were able to explore the church and the Portiuncula on our own. Afterwards we went to eat at local Trattoria. Now, I’ve had many, many three or four course meals in my year here in Rome, but Father Al (bless his heart!) ordered a five course meal for us! It was truly decadent and unexpected. After lunch we headed up to Assisi to have mass and reflection in the Altare di San Caterina in the Basilica of San Francesco.
Following mass, we had a very insightful tour, learning about the significance of the art work in the basilica. Although I am not very interested in art, the tour guide did a grand job of intriguing us with the importance of the artwork and what it symbolized. I learned that art was the books of the Middle Ages for the poor people, being that owning a book then would be like owning a private jet now. The peasants used the pictures to learn about the scriptures, because in addition to illiteracy, the church was still being conducted in Latin which meant that they could also not understand what was being said during mass. After the tour we were free to explore for a while and then we headed up to the Basilica of San Chiara, followed by another magnificent dinner. Overall, one of my favorite trips thus far!