Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Rainy Day in Assisi

We woke during the night to the sounds of thunder and lightning; it continued into the daylight hours and we are now spending our morning in the room as it continues to storm outside.  I’m not sure what is happening to the Assisi Annual Market that was planned for today; but we’re not willing to go out in this weather to find out.    Our B&B includes a wonderful breakfast downstairs so we are dry, warm and have full tummies.   Based on the weather predictions for tomorrow we also arranged for a taxi to take us to the train station tomorrow morning.
This will be a good day to read some of our digital books that we loaded the computers with before leaving home.  I have one that I started in St. Petersburg and have only half finished.   It may be a long day with only short trips out for meals.   It’s a good thing that we have a deck of cards with us and thank goodness for the DSL cable for the internet.
About 9:45 am, the weather cleared.  We donned our rain gear for good measure and walked outside to very light sprinkles.   First to the shop that is owned by the owner of our B&B to pay the balance due on our rent; the shop was closed.  The streets are full of tourists and the trash cans have reappeared! 
The rain had stopped so we continued to walk toward the Basilica of San Francesco in search of the gift shop where Mary wanted to purchase a rosary.  We were up and down and then down again; suddenly we saw that a Mass had just started in the chapel downstairs so we stayed and made this our Sunday Mass since severe storms are expected this evening and we are traveling to Rome tomorrow.
After Mass we finally found the Gift Shop for the Basilica downstairs in the cloister next to the museum.  The shop was very busy but we found what we wanted and paid for them; then upstairs to find a priest to bless them for us.  We found one and made a request; he immediately blessed then and when we said thank you; he said are you American?   He was visiting from the Jesuit Center in New York City.   We then found another priest who was Italian sitting in the booth for blessings and masses; he did a more formal blessing complete with holy water!  The rosaries are well blessed.
As we left the Basilica the rain began again and so we walked even more slowly, arm in arm, back towards the stores.  Our owner’s shop was still closed; so we picked up two big slices of pizza to go so that we’ll have something to eat this evening for dinner without venturing out into the storm.  This will also serve as a day off for Mary after our two days of walking all over Assisi.
Home before noon; we are enjoying putting our feet up!
It’s now after dark and we actually got out for an hour plus between four and five o’clock when the rain stopped.  We walked by the shop and it was open.  Julia, the girl who does everything for us at the B&B was supervising for the owner.  We verified that we’d be able to settle the bill with her at breakfast tomorrow morning.  
We then continued walking toward the center of the town.  There we found the annual market day in full swing.  We enjoyed watching the people and checking out the booths as we continued our walk all the way to the Basilica Santa Chiara.   We’d visited this church on the first day but when we saw the Pope during his visit on television we realized that we’d missed two important sections of the church. 
First we went into the side chapel to view the original Crucifix of San Damiano.  This was the crucifix that St. Francis was praying in front of when he heard a call to rebuild my house.  At the time he thought that he was to rebuild the church of San Damiano which was in need of repairs.  Only later did he realized that he was called to work in the church of living stones. 
In 1257 when the Sisters of St. Clare moved their order up the hill to the new church known as the Basilica of Santa Chiara; they brought the large cross with them and it has hung in this church ever since.   The shape and designs of this Crucifix are repeated over and over in Assisi and it is a symbol for the town.  It was this crucifix that hung on the wood background of the stage where Pope Francis said his Mass yesterday; not the original but a facsimile.
We then went downstairs into the Crypt of St. Clare of Assisi to see her body.  A very moving experience when you realize that she died in 1253.  They have covered her face and feet with wax molds so that people will not be shocked when they view her body that is covered with her robes. 
Having seen a close up in Siena of St. Catherine; that is really important.
Back on the street we walked back through the market and then home to the B&B on a higher street that was more gradual as we had to go uphill most of the way.   We enjoyed our pizza dinner and have packed for our trip to Rome tomorrow.
Not many photos today but I hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

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