We woke up early to begin another trip in the city of Assisi. It was only a short bus ride; but it was a day of appreciating the historic monuments of the Basilica of St Francis...
We began our day with a short walk from our bus to the Basilica of St Francis where our breaths were truly taken away. Not only were we treated with almost immediate panoramic views of the Assisi countryside, but were greeted by the overwhelming beauty of the Basilica itself.
Unfortunately it was strictly no photography inside (not that, that deterred some) so we can't visually show you the brilliance that is the beautiful frescos and statues of the Basilica and it's truly difficult to think of words which would do the building justice. Our wonderful local guide Sofia explained the story of St Francis to us, a rich young man who gave up everything to live the will of God.
It provided us all with an opportunity to reflect on our own lives, looking at the exceptional faith of St Francis who was our age when he came to the realisation that he needed to help the world experience the love of God. It was one of the first moments we were able to reflect on this and much of the morning was spent by each of us wondering how we could follow the example of both St Francis and St Claire to make our own lives and the lives of those around us better.
As you can also see, the multitude of hills we had to climb became a great bonding experience for bus 11. Our little group has finally begun to perfect our chants and we have all had the chance to get to know each other more and make so many new friends that we will all cherish for years to come. Our group chats over gelato will never be forgotten and something I will cherish forever.
We visited the burial place of St Claire on our travels through Assisi and it was a moving experience to be able to see her body perfectly preserved in wax as well as actual garments she wore which were hundreds of years old.
We wrapped up our day with a walk down the steepest and longest hill most of us had ever encountered for a mass in St Damianas, the church rebuilt by St Francis when God spoke to him asking him to "rebuild his church". The beautiful scenery and atmosphere of the small church made the mass even more special for us and provided us with real connection to the work of St Francis.
The photos of us all here smiling were tragically taken before we were told we had to walk back up the hill, but our bus bonding session at the top made the ordeal worth it, with group 4 (yeah Freeman) reigning as champions after our traditional bus quiz. It was by far the most moving and beautiful day so far within which we were able to experience so much more spiritually and physically than any previous day on our pilgrimage so far and I think many in Bus 11 would agree with me when I say that Assisi was the best place we have visited so far.