Heaven and Earth: Lessons learned in Assisi

This past summer I had a profound experience that helped me to remember that heaven and earth are one.

I was in Assisi, Italy, on pilgrimage. I was there with other Franciscans who were preparing for (or discerning) final vows, and participating in a study pilgrimage sponsored by Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs. As a Franciscan sister, it is understandable that my heaven-on-earth experience occurred in Assisi, as the village is holy ground for those of us in the Franciscan family.

Sacramental graces

After a morning Mass with our pilgrimage group at the tomb of St. Francis, I went into the upper church of the basilica of St. Francis.  I then found myself praying with Giotto di Bondone’s vibrant frescoes depicting the life of St. Francis. Much was stirring in my heart as I examined the scenes depicting St. Francis’ life of conversion and penance.

Specifically, I was feeling very uncomfortable with my weak and imperfect …

[This is the beginning of my latest column for the online newspaper, Global Sisters Report.  Continue reading here.] 


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  1. Hi, Julia. You might remember me from our Intercommunity Pre-novitiate in Racine, WI, some years ago now. I have been keeping in touch with your writings on Global Sisters Report. It is a joy to read them and hear of your life and commitment as a high school teacher. So great. You are in my prayer……..keep growing. Your experience in Assisi is similar to one I had many years ago. I can totally relate.
    Peace and all good,
    Sister Kris Vorenkamp, SLW

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