Showing posts from June, 2010

I put on pilgrim shoes

I put on pilgrim shoes
and walk again to the hermitage
Francis' cave of retreat
perched high on Subasio
above crowds in Assisi.
I put on pilgrim shoes
Francis' shoes
among beautiful trees
peaceful breeze, birds singing
shoes that walk on Francis' path
in nature to discover
the glory of God revealed.
I put on pilgrim shoes
and walk to the tombs of Clare
and Francis among his friends
worn marble and stones
tell me as much about pilgrimage
as Clare and Francis.
I put on pilgrim shoes
with other pilgrims
sharing the journey
with laughs, ahas and gaze.

From Spello to Orvieto

Sunday Amy and I packed up and left Spello, our home of four weeks. We so appreciate our time at the Enoteca Properzio and the hospitality of Roberto Angelini, his family and his staff. We were like family for four weeks. Since Roberto and his brother Carlo didn't speak english, they taught us Italian. We were welcomed when we came back after the memorial service in California, and welcomed back each day we returned from walking Assisi or Montefalco, or resting in Spello. We learned about each other and enjoyed times of laughter and telling stories (as best we could) and understanding more about each others' lives.
We met some amazing people over a cappuccino or a glass of wine or a late evening dinner from all over the world: Nova Scotia, Scotland, Boston, North Carolina, Lousiana, Tennesee, Oregon, Italy, Mexico, England, France, Norway, and even San Diego. On Friday we met Janet, a woman from England who is good friends with a couple in our church in Solana Beach. There were…

Another Week in Umbria

Last Wednesday we went to Assisi again. It is a beautiful place and I'm glad we are able to see it in several visits. This time we focused on San Rufino church and San Damiano.

The San Rufino Church highlight was the façade. The animals, the design is really beautiful. When you stand in front of the church, then look backwards to the Rocca Maggiore on top of the hill, it's impressive. San Ruffino also has original stone walls and a crypt that remind you of what this church is built on. Also, the baptismal font where Clare and Francis were baptized? Cool.

We walked down to San Damiano and got there before it opened. I took off my sandals and walked on the cool tile in the shade of the portico. When it opened I kept my shoes off, to experience the worn smooth coolness of the stone. I'm impressed with San Damiano. This is the original church that Francis rebuilt. These are the floors, the frescoes, the walls. The choir was added in the 15th century, but the vaulted ceiling, th…

Around Umbria

Last week before we left for SFO, we spent some time in the towns around Spello: Montefalco and Bevagna.

Sunday after mass at the Chiesa San Lorenzo we returned to Montefalco (where we had lunch on Friday) but this time outside of town to the Scacciadiavoli Open House, part of a regional Cantine Aperte of wineries around Montefalco. We shared a vertical wine tasting of Montefalco Rosso with three couples we met a few days earlier in Spello from Oregon and Kentucky.
Since there was free wine, food and a jazz concert, the crowds grew as the day went on. We needed a break so we walked outside to the family chapel on the grounds. It was shaded and quiet, so we prayed our prayer book, went outside, laid down and closed our eyes for an hour or so. We walked down the two lane road with parking on both sides for half a mile, dodging cars and mopeds, buses. We bought coffee and treats at a local café (inundated with what had to be a record number of customers) and returned to the winery with a…

Reflections on our trip to the Bay Area

June 6. I haven't written in a week. It's been a difficult week to describe. We woke up Wednesday morning for our 6:40 am train from Spello to the airport in Rome and caught our Delta flight at noon. We changed flights in JFK and arrived at SFO at 11:15pm. It was a long day--we were picked up by friends who took us to another friend's home and loaned us a car for the weekend. We're grateful for good friends who are willing to help.

As we thought about coming back to California for Geoff's memorial service, we had to figure out whether this was a distraction to our sabbatical or a new leg of our sabbatical designed by God. I don't think this hasn't been a distraction from our sabbatical--it has been a highlight. If a pilgrimage is traveling to a destination for the love of God and it includes seeing God at work, being surprised, being led and celebrating God's work, then I wanted to reflect today on how this has been part of our pilgrimage.
God was at work…

From Spello to the Bay Area and back again

Amy and I made the flight from Rome to SFO last Wednesday night for Geoff Haskell's memorial service today in Pleasanton. We fly back to Rome tomorrow morning from SFO and will arrive Monday morning to resume our sabbatical itinerary.

As I wrote before, I didn't see this as a distraction to our sabbatical as much as a surprise on this pilgrimage that would tell us something about God. We had a full three days. Today was a great celebration of Geoff's life and a kind of reunion of friends, former students, family from the last 20 years.

I want to get to bed, but soon this week I want to write about the weekend and what we learned about God. Suffice to say, I'm glad we made the trip.

Stay tuned. (see Geoff's blog at