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”Vade Francisco et repara domum meam”

Link:Francis's life and works

A Pilgrimage in the third Millennium

Where is this great attraction hidden???? Even those who have already experienced one or more pilgrimages in recent times and have suffered in finding the essential things, such as: a roof to sleep under, fresh drinking water and, finally, something to eat, ask themselves and others what spurs one to set out on an adventure like this.

The main trend comes from the North of Europe, especially from Germany and France, and even from Canada, Japan, Brazil, and finally from Italy: in recent years also many Italians have felt the need to test new existential experiences, stimulated by hidden inner motivations. The secular and religious intellectual training, not to mention the actual social and political reality, is not able to attract the attention of the present generations any more.

Young people live the present cultural and religious opportunities with indifference, apart from their received education, and so they feel the need to investigate different models. Many sons of the most unbridled hedonism show a real courage in exploring new doctrinal spheres and be the protagonist of their own inner metamorphosis.

Francis was a missionary and a pilgrim

He travelled all over Italy, following the same ways of the devout pilgrims, real "engines" of the Middle Ages in Europe. Like many of his contemporaries, he reached the most coveted destination too: Santiago of Compostela ("Francis went to Saint Jacopo of Galizia …" from "I fioretti" of Saint Francis).

Saint Francis was a real pilgrim of peace in the Holy Land in 1219 (during the crusades), the only Christian armed with the "sword of love", fearless announcing his faith in Christ, even to the sultan Melek el-Kamel. Later, he preached in Syria and Egypt and even tried to reach Morocco.

Saint Anthony from Lisbon

The other sublime Franciscan brother was Saint Anthony whose deep and "subtle" spirituality convinced Francis to call him "My Bishop".

The hermitage of Montepaolo was his first home; in a short time he was widely appreciated for his speeches and his preaching. He began by travelling through the Romagna and the North of Italy, then he went to France to fight the Albigiese heresy, and finally he preached in Veneto and in Lombardia again, before his final stop in Padua.

Anthony can be considered the pioneer pilgrim of the "Cammino of Assisi", as His presence has been testified at Montepaolo, Verna, Cerbaiolo, Montecasale and finally in Assisi where he was present, as the provincial Father of the Romagna and of the North of Italy, for drafting the Chapters of the Order (1221/24/27/30).

In a statistical research carried out by the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Anthony is the most venerated saint and he was proclaimed "Doctor of the Church" in 1946