“If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.’
~ Francis of Assisi
By Catherine Austin Fitts
Immediately, I was struck by the sense of peace and prayer power in the “field” in Assisi as well as by the beauty of the hills and the ancient town.
A taxi wound its way up the hills to my hotel, the Ròseo Hotel and Conference Center. The hotel, chosen by the workshop organizers, was lovely. If you feel like truly relaxing and resting, here is a place for you:
The workshop was given in English and Italian. Most participants were Italian, with a smattering of Germans and Belgians, and one person each from England and America. Most attendees have studied the Pistis Sophia for some time. That helped, as it is not possible to cover such a text in a few days.
Our discussion included what the Pistis Sophia can teach us about spiritual warfare skills which we can apply to what is happening in our lives today. This included a fascinating discussion of the refugee migrations underway in Europe.
Given the change and deceptions we deal with daily, I struggle to stay in a higher mind. By the second day, my mind and spirit were soaring!
Each day we shared lunch together in the hotel and then headed out to visit the sites associated with St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis (1181-1226) was the son of a wealthy silk merchant who became a solider for Assisi. After experiencing a vision, he transformed into a Catholic friar who is now one of the most admired spiritual leaders in history.
Our visits included:
- Basilica di Santa Chiara is a church in Assisi that contains the remains of Saint Clare of Assisi, a follower of St Francis and founder of the Order of Saint Clare.
- Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi is the mother church of the Franciscan Order. It was constructed in the 13th century after St. Francis was canonized by the Pope.
- Cattedrale di San Rufino di Assisi is the church in Assisi where St. Francis was baptized.
- Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli is a church situated in the plain beneath Assisi. The Basilica was constructed in the 16th and 17th century to enclose a tiny 9th century church, the Porziuncola, the most sacred place for the Franciscans. It was here that the young Francis renounced the world in order to live in poverty among the poor and thus started the Franciscan movement.
- San Damiano is is a church with a monastery near Assisi, Italy. Built in the 12th century, it was the first monastery of the Order of Saint Clare.
- Eremo delle Carceri is a small hermitage four kilometers above Assisi where St. Francis prayed and contemplated.
When our group filled up a chapel, we would chant the sacred names from the Pistis and related texts.
When the workshop ended on Sunday afternoon, those of us who were not leaving until Monday headed back up to the historic town for dinner overlooking the skyline and fields at Ristorante Metastasio.
I have rarely seen anything as beautiful as the sunset over the fields of Assisi as we discussed what we had experienced and learned during the week.
After dinner, we headed back to the Basilica di San Francesco for a concert. Not knowing what to expect, we found a recital of soloists by the Takiko Kato Music School of Tokyo, Japan (more on artist and activist Takiko Kato here).
I was off by train to Zurich via Florence and Milan the following morning. Thinking back on all the things I enjoyed about Assisi, what was best were the people. A perfect example was my cab driver on the second day I was there. I took a cab into town to have lunch on the square, to visit the ATM machine and to buy fruit for my stay. I tried to pay the driver when he dropped me at the edge of town. He waved me away and said, “Just pay me when I pick you up after lunch.” When he picked me up, I told him that I wanted to find a place to buy fruit and stamps. He drove me to a fruit store and asked me what I needed for stamps. When I returned from the fruit store, I discovered that he had spent 11 euros of his own money to buy me stamps, confident that I would settle up when the ride was done.
Everyone was full of trust that all would be well and that everything would work out. Life was about helping each other and making things go.
Maybe living in a beautiful place full or prayer power makes for beautiful people.