December 27, 2015-January 6, 2016
On January 5th, the student pilgrims spent their last day in Assisi at the Basiliche San Francesco, which is actually three basilicas in one.
“Religious pilgrimage is a very ancient, deeply moving, surprisingly powerful religious work. Our students prepared well and partook of the pilgrimage humbly and enthusiastically. They bring back our living heritage, their own encounters with the living saints. We are profoundly grateful to the many donors who helped make this pilgrimage possible and hope and pray to return with more students next year.”
Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy
Natalie Butler ’16, Ruthann Gorrell ’19, and Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminarian Matthew Donahue ’17 indulged in gelato from Tre Scalini before ending the day with Mass at Casa Tra Noi.
“The pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi blessed me with cultural, historical, and spiritual experiences. One of the most profound encounters I had was before the San Damiano cross. Overwhelmed by the blessing to pray before the crucifix that St. Francis and St. Clare loved, I wept tears of joy and amazement. I could sense God near, and I felt the same call St. Francis heard 800 years ago, to rebuild Christ’s Church. There were no words, only a quiet earnest beckon within my heart. Where this beckon will lead me remains a mystery; however, I know Marian University will guide me to be the transformational leader God calls me to be.”
Ruthann Gorrell ’19
San Damiano Scholar
The pilgrims represented different Franciscan colleges. Medieval Assisi resting on Monte Subasio is visible in the background. The group gathered at La Maddalena and performed a skit portraying how people in Francis’ time would have reacted to a leper.
“This experience gave me different values and priorities. I used to picture the Kingdom of God as something external; however, in Assisi I felt this kingdom engulf me day by day internally. I was truly living in the Kingdom of God through the places, the other pilgrims and leaders, and the spirituality of St. Francis and St. Clare. I received the greatest compliment recently while sharing the wonders of Assisi with a friend who has been devoted to St. Francis for years. He told me he feels like he is there when he is with me. Besides showing people prayer, I want to live Assisi here." Natalie Butler ’16
San Damiano Scholar