Here are a few resources to prepare to join our virtual Pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome. First, visit and explore the Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs website, and look carefully at the map. (You may want to open the itinerary for reference.)
Two movies, flawed but can give a bit of the outline and “flavor” of Francis’ world and life. they are both highly fictionalized and romanticized, and do not capture the spirit of poverty and radical commitment that is the essence of Francis and his heritage.
The 1961 20th Century Fox film based on a novel by Louis de Wohl, The Joyful Beggar: low-budget and somewhat shallow, but worth a watch.
And Franco Ziffirelli’s more eloquent (well, overblown ), but equally flawed and grossly inaccurate, Brother Sun, Sister Moon. Here’s the trailer:
You can cheaply rent it on YouTube, Amazon, or any of the other Internet video services.
Don’t look for factual accuracy in either of them (Ziffirelli’s costumes are especially ridiculous, as is his depiction of the Catholic Church and the banal songs). Nonetheless, I don’t think time with either (or both) of them will be wasted, but their real value will be to awaken a desire to explore, seeking truth and insight. There are dozens of biographies of St. Francis and St. Clare, as well as commentaries on Franciscan spirituality. (See my earlier post for the two books I recommend, at least for now.)
(Note that both movies feature the so-called Prayer of St. Francis – “Make me an instrument of your peace …” – which is a modern composition, not much more than a hundred years old.)
Here is an interesting “virtual pilgrimage” made with Google maps. It doesn’t seem terribly attractive, but it’s not too difficult to navigate once you get the hang of it. A lot of good information.
This “ItalyGuides” website features wonderful 360-degree surround photos of the major buildings and significant places in Assisi. Spend time with it. You’ll enjoy every scene.
Enough for now. Stay tuned.