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“Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~ St Francis of Assisi
It was one of the dark moments of my life when I decided to follow the Footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. The very first pilgrimage I did, alone. Of course, it took planning and reaching out to strangers. Sending out e-mails mostly to the Franciscans and Sisters in Rome. They are very helpful.
Hello, my name is Maria Siglos. I am writing to seek your help if you could provide me with contact e-mail in Assisi, Italy for any retreat centres or catholic homes who would like to accommodate me during my visit in September. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Waiting and patience is very important when embarking on a pilgrimage. They say everything is in God’s time. These qualities did not exist in me at the time. For one, I want to run away, throw in the towel and enough of the so-called career and professional life. I quit my job of 14 years.
But I have no choice but to wait and see. I prayed to all the Gods: Shiva, Ganesha, Buddha, St. Francis, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Finally, I received a response.
Fr. Gregory forwarded your letter but I am just back from vacation and tomorrow I am on my way to Assisi… if you are online now, please answer immediately and I might be able to help you by getting the info tomorrow. I would appreciate knowing what you are looking for… there are guesthouses and there are probably retreat houses.
How long do you plan to be in Assisi? Are you looking for private time? For a directed retreat? Are you looking for 4 star? Are you looking for modest places = shared bathrooms? Retreat places are likely to be basic. Do you have an idea of your dates? Please furnish any other info you might think is helpful.
Oh? Too many questions! I thought it’s just as simple as booking a hotel and I am on my own. St. Francis didn’t have to answer to these questions. All he did was divest himself in front of the church and left Assisi. What I need is private room with spiritual direction.
Being not in the right frame of mind, I really do not know what to do. I simple replied whatever that they can provide, I will be grateful.
Year 2000 was Jubilee Year in Rome, I found out. A very special year when one of the sealed doors of Vatican Church will open and will shut again for another 25 years. Imagine Rome and Assisi are buzzing with pilgrims and tourist alike. Good luck finding a place to rest.
It has taken a while but I have now obtained the necessary information. One of the friars in Assisi did a bit of telephoning and searching. I need to say that in Assisi they are very full as far as accommodations are concerned. I believe this myself because some friars here in Rome have been looking for places for friends coming to Rome and they are pulling out their hair… everything seems to be packed here in Rome and by extension in Assisi.
Maybe prayer is not the answer. Maybe I will challenge God. Maybe I will give St. Francis of Assisi a threat. NOW HERE THIS! I said in my mind. Instead I said, whatever St. Francis. If you want me to come, I will come.
Surrender. When I completely surrender myself to God, it works. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I have found a single room in a guesthouse run by the friars at Porziuncola. There are two guesthouses. This is the simpler of the two, prepared to make things within the reach of simple, working class pilgrims.
The dilemma of travel arrangement is over and a new fear surfaced. I have no job to come home to. Back to prayer again begging St. Francis to help me find a job. Not a career but a job that is a means to an end to continue being of service to humanity while I live on earth.
A week before I departed for Assisi, I received a job offer, an answer to my prayer. The people who hired me were willing to wait for my return even though they needed a person immediately. Another sigh of relief.
With everything in placed I went with peace of mind, walked the plains of Porziuncola, climbed the mountain to reach his hermitage and scrambled my way up to the hills of Assisi to visit San Damiano where he heard the Cross spoke to him to build a church.
St. Francis of Assisi is real. A person who lived in life of luxury, partying and drinking. He joined the war, captured and imprisoned. During his imprisonment he was dangerously sick, body mind and soul. After his release from imprisonment, in the forest he met a leper. Leper is the lowest of the lowest, the untouchables. But Francis touched, embraced and kissed him. From then on, a new Francis rose and started a new movement.
That was lifetime ago, another 14 years. Currently, I am still working for the same employer. A job that I like, love the people I work with and doing service in between.
Look at everything and everyone around you and imagine how a creating and loving God would see what you see. Love the good; do what you can to change what needs to be changed. — from Advent with St. Francis
Another day at the dental office and another 3.5 hours listening to Christmas music is highly not on the top of the list of having fun. My mouth is still sore from the other day and here I go again feeling kind of masochist and the dentist a sadist. I decided to turned off my mind, recited a mantra and went into the clouds of unknowing. The next thing I knew, soft hands were caressing my face and waking me up gently every time my mouth gradually closes. I really rather be sleeping and pretend that I am somewhere in outer space.
‘Humming a song with the dentist’s fingers, feeling the pain of the drill, feeling my mouth with plaster, feeling me softly with pain’, a song in my head that is not conducive to relieving the agony. So I changed the mental song to ‘Catch a falling star and put in my pocket save it for a rainy day’. Perry Como`s song sounded much better.
Eventually, the session is over only to return next year to finish the job. Left the clinic and went to a floral shop to divert my attention. Just looking, admiring and savouring the scented flowers with no intention of buying until I saw a plant that has the most beautiful white flower. It was a very unusual plant, a species of hydrangea called Shooting Star. With no hesitation, I bought it, took it home and gave the plant to the next door neighbour for no reason at all. But of course, the neighbour always wants a reason and asks why. Before I can give her a chance to ask why, I said: “Here, Merry Christmas.”
The first thing the neighbour exclaimed was “Shooting Star! I dreamt of Shooting Star last night!” Was she ever excited and gave me a bear hug, a kiss on my forehead and never-ending gratitude. Our stars must be aligned is all I can think of to dismiss the coincidence. What I really think is that her angels must have whispered in my ears, the soft still voice that made me buy the plant and gave it to her.
Ain’t life grand? It takes very little to make one happy in turn made me feel joyful.
If you want your dream to be
Build it slow and surely
Small beginnings greater ends
Heart felt work go purely.
If you want to live life free
Take your time go slowly
Do few things but do them well
Simple joys are holy.
Day by day, stone by stone
Build your secrets slowly
Day by day, you’ll grow too
You’ll know heavens glory.
Francis of Assisi
- Francis of Assisi – to this point…. (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
Peace be with you. Seeker
Prophet summons us
Call to Service
For all mankind
Rejoicing in hope, patience and tribulation
Rejoicing in hope with patience even in times
of tribulation. With this in mind, I part you with a Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. He was just a man whom the Prophet Called him to be of Service for All Mankind, always rejoicing the Glory of God. To listen to the melody play the YouTube. It was recorded at the birthplace of Francesco in Assisi. Italy. Related Links: Britannica.com: John F. Kennedy Biography of Francesco di Bernadone born on 1181 by Wikipedia Huffington post by: Bansi Kara – A Prayer for Teachers St. Francis, Friend of Muslim Sultan of Babylon Notes on Peace by Seeker Delicate minds about being Peacemakers World Peace Conference – Culture of Peace by Louise Diamond We Can Make A Difference-Right Here, Right Now by Kozo January Post for Peace by Grandmalin B4Peace – Love thy Neighbor by sarahneeve Peace be with you today and all days by Tracy Bloggers4Peace -Everyday Gurus