franciscan - January 1998
© Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 1997
Sister Joyce, Minister Provincial of the European Province First Order Sisters, writes:
A pilgrimage to Assisi will never be the same again. It is still hard to believe how devastating the earthquake damage has been to the town since last September. Those churches and buildings revered because of their association with Francis and Clare, to which pilgrims have gravitated for over seven hundred years, have had to be abandoned. Communication networks flashed the awful information from continent to continent: Italy via USA via Scotland to Brixton, London. It was terrible to learn that lives had been lost, homes wrecked, churches and convents declared unsafe, priceless works of art unable to be restored. We faxed back our solidarity in prayer and concern for our Franciscan brothers and sisters there.
Francis, are you going to rebuild these ruins? Are you going to rework your 13th century miracle this century?
Bishop Michael Hare-Duke TSSF wrote a poem in response, entitled Assisi, 4 October 1226, which he read at the St
Francis Day Eucharistic celebration of our Scottish Third Order. I quote from it, with permission:
This Christmas in Assisi, may they be encouraged by remembering Francis in Greccio, that ‘joy is a divine gift
and comes only from union with God in Christ. As such it can abide even in days of darkness and difficulty’. (The
Principles of the First Order).
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