Tag Archives: Saint Francis of Assisi

From Rieti to Poggio Bustone

We had spent a very good night in Reiti since we had not slept for almost 24 hours. We woke up with lots of energy ready to go and begin our Camino of Saint Francis. We got directions on how to get out of the city and walked on a busy highway for three or four miles until we began our ascent into the mountains. We finally arrived at our destination, La Foresta, a small Franciscan monastery.

Beautiful landscape on our walk.

Stunningly beautiful landscape. We were confident at this point only later we got discouraged as we lost the path.

A station approaching the monastery.

With signs we still got lost.

The cloister was closed but the church was opened so we stay for prayer.

Lovely image of Mary.

The chapel where we prayed.

The door to the cloister at Foresta.

With confidence we begin our ascent into the woods convinced we were on the Camino.

Fresh water to revive our spirits now that we thought we had found our way.

Now we knew this was the path.

The path became narrow and and very precarious. John fell and broke his walking stick so we decided we took the wrong turn and went back to another path and walked for a long time ending up on an asphalt road and we realized we weren’t on the Camino at all. So we returned to the monastery where we encountered two Italians who put us on the right path and we began to see signs but soon the path became more rugged and ended in a farm. We were losing confidence because we thought we made another mistake so we went back to the monastery. It was now about 3 o’clock and we had been working since 8 in the morning. We had walked in the woods for a long time and basically walked big circles. We had lost our Italian guidebook. We meet an American who started in Gubbio and said the stretch we were walking to Assisi was poorly marked and people were prone to getting lost. The good news was that the monastery was now open we had the opportunity to see another cave where Saint Francis slept.

It was past 3 o’clock and there was no way we could make it to Poggio Bustone before nightfall so we had to hitch a ride and got there in time for dinner. The hotel we were scheduled to stay in had been closed because of earthquake damage but the manager found us a B and B. We had a great dinner and conversations with Italians with lively interchange.

Our room had a balcony which overlooked the valley below. The balcony door was opened and a little kitten wandered in who wanted a lot of attention. I found out the next morning his name was Meno.

This is a town that played a part in the life of Saint Francis, who visited the town one day, knocked on the door at the arched portal, declaring “Buon Giorno Buona Gente,” “Good morning, good people” and proceeded to proclaim to them the Gospel.

He took refuge in another cave up the side of the mountain at the church of Saint James. We intended to visit it the next day.

We hoped that we could find someone who could give us a map. The pilgrims we encountered said this stretch is almost impossible because of poor signage. The stretch from Gubbio to Assisi is about 4 to 5 days well marked with lots of pilgrims. We had chosen the road less travelled.

Early Morning in Poggio.

Saint James.

Door to church.

Gives an idea of the structure hugging the mountain.

The tau cross of Saint Francis.

The cave where Francis slept and instructed his disciples.

Saint Francis.

The church of Saint James.

The cloister.

The church.

The Camino of Saint Francis: Poggio Bustone

Update: for the whole story of today’s trip, please see the next post.


The medieval streets of Poggio Bustone.

The gate to the medieval city where Saint Francis entered and greeted the residents with the words, “Buon giorno, buona gente.”

Frescoes inside the gate.

Looking from the city through the gate.

Sunset in Poggio Bustone.

My new friend Meno helping me.

A view of Poggio Bustone from Saint James.


The sign of the cammino as we entered the sanctuary of Poggio Bustone dedicated to Saint James.


The sanctuary of Poggio Bustone dedicated to Saint James.

In the Footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi

Today, June 5, Father John Peck and I will fly to Rome and then take the train to Rieti. From that little town in Umbria we will begin our walk to Assisi. We will cover about 15 miles a day on foot from little town to little town associated with Saint Francis of Assisi. We will be heading north from Rieti to Assisi and enjoying the countryside and various sites that Saint Francis visited during his lifetime.

The towns we plan to visit are marked on this Google map.

Church of the Visitation

Church of the Visitation. The current church was built over the remains of a 4th century Byzantine church.

Note the beautiful mural of Mary on the donkey.

The Visitation fresco.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” ~Luke 1:39-45

Zechariah in the temple.

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. ~Luke 1:5-13

Slaughter of the Innocents.

Slaughter of the Innocents.

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more.” ~Matthew 2:16-18

This ancient tunnel leads to a well of which tradition speaks of water springing up joyfully when our Lady greets Elizabeth.

The church of the Visitation.

Mary in Franciscan attire.

Pax et Bonum, Peace and the Good, the motto of Saint Francis of Assisi.