La Verna: St. Francis’ Hilltop Home-Away-From-Home

All the bells summon the monks to prayer.

St. Francis, after whom our new pope is named, is most often associated with the Italian village  of Assisi.  And fair enough:  Assisi was home base for Francis and the other monks of the Order of Friars Minor.Sometimes, though, he just needed to get away.  That’s what happened when, in August 1224, Francis withdrew to La Verna, about a day’s walk away, for an extended 40-day period of prayer and fasting.Pope Francis has invited the monks of La Verna to attend his inaugural Mass tomorrow … [Read more...]

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Orvieto and the Feast of Corpus Christi

The town of Orvieto is an Etruscan city located in the scenic region of Umbria, between Firenze (Florence) and Roma (Rome).I first visited the medieval town of Orvieto in 2002, and again in 2006.  It’s the eucharistic miracle which is preserved there that I want to tell you about today—but first, let me tell you a little about this picturesque little town. *     *     *     *     * Getting Up There - Orvieto sits atop a volcanic rock, on a high butte overlooking the plain; and our group rod … [Read more...]

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WHERE THE LOVE OF GOD GOES: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Edmund Fitzgerald 1

Does anyone know where the love of God goes When the waves turn the minutes to hours…--Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” It was circa July 1973, and my husband and I—young, free-wheeling and in love, with more dreams than experience—embarked on a driving trip through upper Michigan.  We’d never been much farther north than Lansing at that point.  We pitched a tent along the way, getting to know Grayling and Mio, the Au Sable River and the Traverse City wine country, fi … [Read more...]

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