October 26 — MONDAY
San Damiano, Sta. Maria Maggiore – Transition and Conversion
Most Catholics when we think of St. Damian, think of Damian de Veuster, the missionary Saint famous for his work among lepers at Molokai, Hawaii. The Church of St. Damian, important in the lives of Francis and Clare and their followers, was named after twin physicians, martyred for their faith in the early Church. It was here that Francis retreated to discern God in his life, here that the message from Jesus o the cross (San Damiano Cross) spoke to him, “Francis, rebuild my church,” which he did, stone by stone. He later understood that the message had broader and deeper significance than just a building – the whole Church as in need of repair and renewal, having become worldly and therefore in shambles. It was here that Francis placed St. Clare and her followers, forming a new community of poor ladies, dedicTed to a contemplative life. Here Clare worked miracles of healing, and here she died.
Santa Maria Maggiore (English), by contrast, was the Cathedral and the bishops’ residence. Here took place the famous confrontation between Francis and his father, Pietro Bernadone, in which Francis embodies his commitment of love of God the Father in Christ by divesting himself of all wealth and the clothing that symbolized his worldly and formally status.
The focus of this day was healing: the healing that removes impediments to the good that God desires for us, the healing that makes us whole as children of God.
Bernard of Quintavale was the very first person, a fairly wealthy and prominent citizens of Assisi, to decide to give up all that he had and follow Francis’ way of poverty.
P.S. Check out Pilgrim Lucy’s wonderful photos on her Facebook page.