Sunday, August 01, 2004

July 31, Saturday

This morning I went alone to the hermitage of the Carceri. This is a simple stone structure built into the side of a ravine about 4 km outside of Assissi. Below in the ravine there are a number of rock cave-shelters where monks used to set in seclusion. St. Francis and his followers came to this hermitage to seclude themselves from the world.

If you follow the path that descends into the ravine from the far side, you will cross the ravine back to the hermitage side and come to a fork in the path. The lower path descends in a zig-zag, and by continuously following the lower path when there is a fork you will come to a cave with a wooden gate. Inside people leave photos of saints and their loved ones, or in some cases apparently of themselves, together with pieces of writing, letters, and prayers in many languages, all placed on a flat stone with a crude wooden cross. A plaque gives the name of a Franciscan who must have secluded himself in this cave, together with a date in the 19th century. I think the cave is older than that, though. Among the pictures that had been placed there, three were of Avatar Meher Baba from Pune, India. I think that being in this place was one of the most important experiences on my trip to Italy.

In the afternoon we left our hotel and came to Rome.

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