One of the first things that caught my attention about this international research experience was the location. Perugia is close in proximity to Assisi. For Franciscan’s study abroad program based in Gaming, Austria, one of the places you get to travel to is Assisi. I fell in love with this little Umbrian town. So when I woke up this past Saturday, I was determined to make it to Assisi.
It seems that Saint Francis has always had a presence in my life. My father and I both have the middle name of Francis. My sister and I now attend Franciscan University. In fact, my parents met at, got married at, and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Without St. Francis, there would not have been a Franciscan University, and my parents probably would have never met. So in a way, I owe St. Francis my life!
Getting to Assisi from Perugia is pretty easy. All I have to do is walk to the train station, buy my ticket, and twenty minutes later, I am there. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do when I arrived. I had already been there before for a couple of days, and the city is not that large. I did know that Assisi is the “City of Peace” as it says on the sign when you arrive. So I was determined to relish that peace.
When I arrived, however, I discovered that Assisi is very “touristy” in the summer. Everywhere I looked, I saw tons of people. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to see so many people visiting the city of a multitude of great saints. However, it is hard to focus on prayer and peace amongst the multitudes. So in spite of this, I bought a peach at a stand on the side of the road and retreated to my favorite, secret spot in all of Assisi on the outskirts of town (see picture). I sat here for about an hour praying and enjoying the peacefulness.
After this, I decided to walk to St. Francis’ hermitage which is nearly a 2 mile walk up a mountain. The hermitage is beautiful, but there were tons of people there too! Because of this, I decided I wanted to keep on walking to the top of the mountain. It took another 30 minutes to walk to the top.
Tired, drenched, and crying (ok well maybe not crying) I made it to the top. I must say that what I saw up there on top of Monte Subasio was the greatest view of my life. It felt like such an accomplishment to get to the top of this mountain in Assisi. I shouted at the top of my lungs because no one was around, and an overwhelming sensation overtook me. I could just imagine Saint Francis being on top of that mountain looking out and seeing God’s glory in all that He created!
I loved Assisi so much that I decided to go back on Monday (since it was an Italian holiday). This time I brought Cecelia and Savannah with me. It was less crowded than Saturday so we stayed inside the city primarily. Cecelia and Savannah loved the town, and we got to go inside all the major churches of the city. It was a good decision to make Assisi our first visit in our travels over here.
Tuesday started another work week which brings new challenges and adventures. I work usually from 9:30 am to 5:50 pm so it is going to be a busy week. I have a multitude of reactions to run which I will describe in my next post! I will keep you updated on my trip to Rome this weekend to see Pope Francis! Please continue to pray for me!
Ciao for now!
Chemistry Joke of the Blog Post:
What do you do with a dead chemist? Barium