verted life in solitude. He sought out the natural caves of
Mount Subasio, high above his hometown of Assisi, for
cording to the Gospel.
St. Clare. Along with about two dozen others from U.S. Fran-
ciscan colleges and universities, we visited many of the sanctu-
aries in Assisi, including the hermitage of the Carceri (Eremo
delle Carceri). Today, a large brick monastery home to Francis-
can friars protects the sacred spaces where St. Francis and his
followers dedicated themselves to prayer and contemplation.
They built a small chapel and likely had a small garden to reduce
trips "to town."
hermitage some 3,000 feet above sea level via taxi and not by
bike as some energetic pilgrims journeyed.
tions to spend the next few hours on our own, in solitude. That
evening we gathered together to share our experiences. For
some, it was an easy exercise, part of an existing routine. For
others, it was uncomfortable for them to be alone with their
thoughts. Like St. Francis and his brothers, we experienced fra-
ternity -- gathering in community to reveal our encounters,
seeking the guidance and support of others.
the ... world below, but it was possible to do so with
joy, knowing that the mountain would be there waiting,
drawing him back. Mount Subasio was his magnetic
mountain, pulling his spirit up, beckoning him to lift his
eyes to the skies, whenever the plain began to fix his
stare in a horizontal orbit of despair.
years, Mt. Irenaeus has been a place of rest and encounter.
Mt. Irenaeus website at
pears, along with a box to type the request. When the Devel-
opment Office gets the request, the sender receives a reply,
confirming that the prayer request has been received and will
be prayed for. (The reply also includes a link to the Develop-
ment Office's website.)
iTunes (search "Dating God").
to make Mass intention requests
ture. To learn more about the pil-
grimages offered by Franciscan
Pilgrimage Programs, including a
pilgrimage on solitude, visit
the hermitage Carceri above As-
sisi, Italy, pilgrims can wind their
way through miles of lush,
wooded trails and stop for re-
flection at outdoor chapels.