In twelve short days I travel to Italy as part of a team leading pilgrims on a journey through sites that Saint Francis of Assisi and his dear friend, Saint Clare, traveled in the thirteenth century. I am preparing to lead several writing circles and adding to the narrative of Saint Francis through the lens of Saint Clare, his most ardent support.
The last time I went as part of this team, I became fascinated by Clare, having gone to her tomb, knowing that her body is un-compromised by time and decay. She has become larger than life to me. Perhaps it was seeing the habit she wore, measuring the length of someone six foot two, and not understanding that this force-filled human, actually was smaller--the body in the tomb evidence of her five foot (some) inches stature.
Returning to the birthplace of modern Catholicism in the era of the #Metoo Movement and outspoken confessions of women in the Church today, brings new meaning to the the presentations I intend to give. Clare balanced between her obedience to the Church and her devotion to her own spirituality, caught in the belief that the only way to solidify Francis' mission was to work within the confines of the rule of her religion.
I intend to post here about what I learn, who I meet and the sense of place I often identify with when I enter the gates of the small, hillside town of Assisi.
Updates will follow both from the U.S. and Italy.