For today’s program, the Capitulars went on a pilgrimage to Cortona, (Province of Arezzo) Italy. This event was also designed to accommodate a one-day meeting of the priests of the region of Umbria who, some time ago, had reserved the Chapter auditorium.
In the morning, the Capitulars visited the Le Celle Hermitage near Cortona. It brought back the memory of St. Francis of Assisi in these blessed lands as well as the figure of Brother Elias who was the second Minister General of the Order. The hermitage was a truly spiritual place, leafy and quiet. It is now under the care of our Capuchin brothers.
The Capitulars moved on to the Shrine of St. Margaret of Cortona. Her relics are preserved in this magnificent church. She was a lay woman who really made an impact in her day. She was a peacemaker, always guiding her brothers towards greater charity and the encounter with Christ. Her example of courage in the face of life’s adversities reminds us, even today, that only the Gospel can give meaning to our existence.
After lunch, the friars visited the church of San Francesco where they prayed before various relics used by the Poverello of Assisi: his habit, a liturgical book and a pillow. In particular, the friars paused before the mortal remains of Brother Elias. It was a time to gratefully acknowledge our brother, who understood how to combine faith with human genius.
The Capitulars thanked the Lord for this day of rest and for opening their hearts to our Franciscan origins.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI, Chronicler
Today we are taking a break to travel to Perugia and Cortona. We have been around each other almost all of every day for the past few weeks. It is good to get outside and remember that there is a big world out there.
In the Gospel, Jesus prays for those who are in the world. His gathering of a group of disciples was not to form an exclusive band which concentrated on their own needs. They were to go out to share the blessing that they had received.
As we view the various churches and monuments of Perugia and Cortona, it might not be a bad idea to look around at the people coming and going on their way. Our meeting in chapter is not only for ourselves, it is also for them. It is to make us truer to what we say we are, so that we might be that for them. May we be one in Jesus and the Father, so that they might be one with us and them.