My aunt and uncle left for Umbria a couple of weeks ago. Before leaving, my aunt Penny, who had been to Assisi before, asked me where they should go. She asked me what places I loved, that perhaps they'd missed on their previous visit. San Damiano was the first on my list. It's just outside the old city walls and is a truly blessed place.
I love San Damiano. It is so peaceful and quiet and the area surrounding the convent is filled with olive groves and poppies and a wonderous view of the Umbrian valley. On my first trip here I sat and sketched while a little cat came to hang out with me, purring as I put pen to paper, crawling on my lap and rolling around on my scarf. It was so beautiful that day and I will never forget sitting there beneath the olive trees.
San Damiano is one of the most important places in the story of both Saint Francis and Saint Claire. It is where Francis, while meditating on a the "San Damino Cross" - A Siro-Byzantine icon, that he heard the voice of God telling him to "Go and rebuild my church." It is a huge moment for Francis and when Claire decided to leave her life of wealth and nobility behind, this is where Francis brought Claire. Here she began the second order of Franciscans,"The Poor Claire's." And at the end of his life, when he was very ill and being cared for by the sisters, he wrote his beautiful Canticle of the Creatures here, in Claire's tiny roof garden.
Claire lived here until her death another 27 years after the death of Francis. They say miracles happen for those that pray in her dormitory where she and her sisters slept, lined up on on straw mattresses. There are two windows that look down on the cloister courtyard, now lined with beautiful red geraniums. (see below) It is also where she died and is a very quiet place to pray and meditate.
To see photos of the interior (they don't want tourists snapping pictures) you can go to the official Santuario Website.
"You pray in your distress and in your need;
would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy
and in your days of abundance."
Have a beautiful, amazing weekend!!!