Activities

Vocations “come and follow me”

The Franciscan Hermitage

On Thursday 8 June, the community of postulants of Montefalco, guided by the guardian of the convent, fr. Raffaello, took the road to discover the first Franciscan hermitages of Umbria, to deepen in the knowledge of this fundamental aspect of the Franciscan charisma. The first visit was the hermitage called Sacro Specco di Narni 80km from Asis. Nowadays, four friars inhabit the hermitage that was founded by Saint Francis himself; in fact, this was a place where he use to retreat to pray in the grottos and in the natural openings in the rock, which reminded him the wounds of Christ, looking for consolation and relief. This hermitage is also mention in the biographies of Saint Francis, thus, when the saint was seriously sick, while he was asking God for help an angel appeared with a cithara that produced such a celestial sound, that immediately Francis entered in a mystical ecstasy bringing him physical and spiritual relief and serenity. Nowadays, the cell and the chapel where Saint Francis was during the prodigious event. In that way, it is also preserve the hermitage built by Saint Bernardino in the XV century while he was working on the reform of the order and the observance of the rule of Saint Francis. Nowadays the friars live in an adjacent hermitage, creating a cloister that opens in one of its sides to the spectacular landscape of the Umbrian valley, while preserving the simplicity and intimacy of the eremitical life. After the visit to the hermitage of Sacro Specco, the next step was the hermitage of Monte Luco in the hills of Spoleto, place that currently houses the postulancy of the Seraphic province. The “Fathers of the dessert” that were coming from east escaping from persecution and wars, established the first hermitages of the Spoleto hills in the V century and by the time of Saint Francis, Monte Luco was known as being a place for prayer and hermitage. With a similar story to that one of the Sacro Specco, Francis built the hermitage in the XIII century and Saint Bernardino enlarged it in the XV century, arriving to our days with several transformations, preserving the atmosphere of contemplation and silence, proper of the eremitical life. In the XIX century the blessed Leopold of Gaiche, Franciscan friar lived in the hermitage, living an exemplar life between mission and contemplation. From his “Retreat of Monte Luco” as he used to call it, he reached the sanctity of life through the Franciscan way in poverty, chastity and obedience, in modern times. Nowadays, his body and his relics are preserve in the church of the convent and in a little museum that was done after his death. By the end of the day, the postulants of the Custody share the dinner with the postulants of the Seraphic province, living a fraternal moment in joy and unity. The day enriched the young men in the comprehension of the extensive Franciscan charisma, understanding the way of life taught by Saint Francis, between mission and contemplation resembling “Martha and Mary”, imitating Jesus Himself.

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