June 20, 2010

At 7:43 this morning I took the train to Assisi. By 10:15 I was already at the Assisi train station which was still 3 km to the old town. Instead of taking the bus, I just walked up. It was quite cold when I reached the Basilica of St. Francis and was in time for the mass. After the mass, I prayed before the tomb of St. Francis. I prayed for his intercession -that I will be able to run/walk barefoot on the Camino de Santiago in Spain next month – following his example.

After the mass, I walked around the town of Assisi – visiting the Basilica of St. Clare and the church/convent of San Damiano. Walking barefoot on the streets of Assisi was very pleasant, the pavement was smooth – except the rough road to San Damiano. I was very conscious of the fact that this was the same road that Francis and his followers walked on – barefoot.

I visited the room where St. Clare died and also her tomb. I prayed for a very special intention, remembering a special friend who is now in a Poor Clare monastery very far away and whom I have not seen for over 5 years.

It rained in the afternoon but I kept on walking around town. At 4 pm, I walked back to the train station to catch the last train back to Rome.

Being in Assisi brought back memories of the last time I was here – in 1994. Instead of taking the train from Rome to Assisi, I walked for six days carrying a backpack and tent, sleeping under the stars at night, and reaching Assisi on the Feast of St. Clare. I slept at the doorstep of the basilica of St. Clare that night and the following day took the train back to Rome. It was after that experience that I dreamed of walking on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela someday. This dream will become a reality next month.