On a recent morning walk on Mount Subasio, I entered the forest of the Eremo delle Carceri and found myself alone, enjoying the serenity and appreciative of how Francis must have loved to retire there for prayer.
At the Eremo, I visited a small chapel, a part of the hermitage. It's called the Cappella della Maddalena, and was built in 1484, around the time of Columbus.
It was constructed with the support of a noblewoman named Francesca de' Baglioni, to hold the remains of a well-respected brother named Barnaba Manassei, who had died at the Eremo in 1477.
Inside, there's room for a handful of people.
Along with an altar, there's a statue of Saint Francis with birds and some flowers. A thoughtful setting for quiet contemplation.
And there is a very small bell, much in keeping with Francis' humble nature. Perhaps for announcing prayer time.
Alone and inspired, I reached over and rang it.
La pace sia con te.