Assisi is the home of two very powerful saints of the early 13th century: St. Francis and Saint Claire. I just learned today that Claire was about 12 years younger than Francis, a fact that was not clear to me in the past. This would mean that when she decided to become a follower of Francis for herself, she was in some ways much younger and less prepared for the amazing life that God was calling her to. I find this even more moving and impressive of such a courageous saint.
Some very important items from their lives are still present in the city: the small church that Francis rebuilt, the San Damiano cross that spoke to him, some vestments and other writings from both saints, as well as many gorgeous paintings that fill both basilicas.
After praying at the tombs of both of these two saints, we also were given an opportunity to tour the small ancient medieval town ourselves, as well as do a little shopping.
By then, we were totally exhausted and ready to go back to the hotel, arriving around 6:30.
Then we got some devastating news: my grandfather, Coach Coonan, passed away and went to God to be reunited with his wife Dolly of almost 62 years who passed away a year and a half ago. Beautiful few facts I have been told to us out here in Italy, most importantly, that grandpa died probably quite peacefully, after visiting with his grandson Thomas. I am so grateful that my little brother was able to spend these last moments with our beloved grandpa. I will really miss this man that was so loved and so lovable. He lifted up everyone he met, and showed me how to be a man of faith. I love you, grandpa. See you in the Mass - which you attended with such devotion!
Please continue to pray for the Coonan family, and all of the many lives that coach touched especially through sports and education.
No I am off for another short night, because tomorrow at 7:15 in the morning we leave for Florence!
May God bless you all.