Thomas Merton and the Feast of the Portiuncula

A special Franciscan Feastday

Dating God

Today, August 2, is the Franciscan Feast of the Portiuncula, the “mother church” of the Franciscan Order. This little church in the valley outside the city of Assisi was one of the most important places for St. Francis during his own lifetime. In the early sources we read that this was the only place that the friars were permitted (if not commanded) to keep. It remains an important pilgrimage site in the Franciscan family. I had the great fortune to visit the the Portiuncula chapel (Portiuncula means “little portion”), while in Assisi in 2004. While it was at one time a freed-standing church, today it stands within a large basilica that was built over the tiny little church. On this day when we remember the place of this church, Our Lady of the Angels — it’s official name, I thought it would be nice to share what Thomas Merton, the…

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