Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Transitus Of Saint Francis

Although tomorrow, October 4th, is the Feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, today is the actual day of his death. This is called the "Transitus" of Saint Francis. He died on October 3rd, just after sunset. In ye olden days, a day started at sunset, which is why the Church still begins the celebration of a Solemnity the evening before, and why we are able to have "vigil" Masses on Saturday evening which count as fulfilling our Sunday obligation. So, since Saint Francis died after sunset, his feast is celebrated on October 4th.

Saint Francis' main "home" after he began living a life of penance and poverty was at the little chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Our Lady of the Angels) which is down in the valley below Assisi.

This picture is actually of the basilica (very center of the picture, you can click the picture to "embiggen" it) as taken from just below the Sacro Convento and the Basilica of Saint Francis where he is buried.

The Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli is what was eventually built around the original chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

It is sometimes referred to as the Porziuncola (Little Portion) because it was a small piece of land with a chapel on it, which the Benedictines of Monte Subasio allowed Saint Francis to "rent." Loving poverty, Saint Francis would not allow the Benedictines to give him the land, however he agreed to paying for his stay by a yearly "rent" of just a few flasks of oil and some bread. LOL. I hear there is still a ceremony for it to this day.

The Porziuncola was one of Saint Francis' favorite places on earth. He once said that "Our Lady and the Angels frequent this place."
He did not actually die inside the chapel, but would have died in the small infirmary which is just behind and to the right of the chapel and is still preserved as well.

This is the actual spot where Saint Francis died. I believe the reliquary on the altar contains part of his cord. The painting below is on the outside of the small "infirmary" although I do not recall who painted it.

The official website for the basilica is here:
Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels.


Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

The Benedictines of Monte Subasio gave the Porziuncola to the Franciscans who still pay the yearly "rent": a basket of fish.

Roman Sacristan said...

Oops. Loaves - fishes, they often go together, so of course they can be confused. LOL.