FSA 2024 Franciscan Pilgrimage

“Wherever the brothers [and sisters] may be and meet one another, let them show they are members of the same family." (LR VI: 7-9)

Peace be with you, pilgrim!

Friday March 29 – Saturday 13 April 2024

Welcome to Franciscan Schools Australia (FSA) 2024 Pilgrimage page.  We are proud to be offering our first pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, and other Franciscan sacred places and spaces in April 2024. Pilgrims joining FSA will be walking in the footsteps of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi with other Franciscans from Australia. This pilgrimage is led by Australians for Australian school and College communities with a distinct emphasis on educational application. All pilgrims come together as one from various school communities, cultures, positions, religions, and branches of the Franciscan family in Australia. We are travelling in fraternity.

Why a Pilgrimage?

Pilgrimage is a sacred time. It is not about travel. Tourists are concerned with the external journey alone. As a pilgrim, you will experience an internal dimension to our time together. While every pilgrim is on the same external journey, each person’s internal journey is different. FSA encourages our pilgrims to allow themselves to receive, to be ministered to, and to let go of the stress that comes from working in very busy educational institutions. The foci for our pilgrims are to seek new insights, discover more about Francis and Clare of Assisi and open oneself up to transformation. Of course FSA encourages with joy the sampling of wholesome Italian hospitality while immersing oneself in Italian culture and the special place that is Assisi.

Co-Leaders

Our National Executive Coordinator and friar, Fr. Stephen Bliss, O.F.M. joins with Australian friar Paul Rout, O.F.M. to provide the historical, theological and spiritual input on our pilgrimage. Both friars are eminent scholars in areas of Franciscan Spirituality living the tradition daily in their vocation. Both have engaged in leading retreats and workshops in Franciscan Spirituality in Australia and in the United Kingdom.

Alison Stone, FSA Animator of Mission and Identity co-leads this pilgrimage and will provide the educational framework to our FSA 2024 pilgrimage. Alison is an experienced educator, facilitator and woman who accompanies people on the journey. She has a Franciscan heart that is connected to peace, justice, the earth and all of creation. Her deep spirituality, educational experience and creative source are central to her practice.

Pilgrimage overview

Friday 29 March 2024 – Arrival in Rome. Welcome to the eternal city where we gather in fraternity, looking at the weeks ahead and being blessed for the journey ahead.

Saturday 30 March 2024 – Rome – Greccio – Assisi. On Holy Saturday we pray at Greccio sanctuary, enjoy a Easter feast and continue onto Assisi for a group Easter Vigil Ceremony of Light and Easter Vigil Liturgy of the Eucharist in the chapel at Suore Francescane Angeline, our Casa for 7 days.

Sunday 31 March 2024 – Saturday 06 April 2024 – Here in the sacred city of Assisi we follow in the footsteps of Francis and Clare of Assisi. Each day brings new insights and discoveries as pilgrims open themselves up to transformation in sacred places and sanctuaries in Assisi and in the Rieti Valley.

Over the week we visit the places of Francis and Clare’s early life in Assisi as well as places important to the establishment of the Franciscan brotherhood and spiritual tradition.

We travel down to the Francis’ home in the valley, the beautiful restored Portiuncula within Saint Mary of the Angels’ Basilica.

We will renew our baptismal promises at San Rufino Cathedral, where both, Francis and Clare were baptised. We will immerse ourselves in the Franciscan story of peace and goodness at the Basilica of San Francesco.

We will spend an entire day focused on prayer when we visit Clare’s home outside the walls, that of San Damiano and in the Basilica of Santa Chiara. Furthermore, we will focus on solitude the day we visit the Carceri on Mount Subasio behind Assisi.

We venture further afield to visit La Verna in this special 800-anniversay year.

There will be opportunities for personal visits to sanctuaries and sites as we embrace the spirituality of place in Assisi. Our program this week has been scheduled to allow for retreat, personal prayer and time for ‘being’ rather than doing.

Sunday 07 April 2024 – We make coach pilgrimage through the Rieti Valley to Rome, via La Foresta.

Monday 08 April 2024 – Friday 12 April 2024 – Here in the eternal city we have the chance to illuminate the Franciscan story of Francis in Rome. We will celebrate Mass in St Peter’s Basilica and take in the architectural beauty of the place.

We will visit Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Aboriginal Australian, Francis Xavier Conaci is entombed under a marble cloister in this Church. We experience the early Christian community burial grounds in the catacombs of San Sebastian. Gathered at the Basilica of St. John Lateran we will wonder about the strength and the humility of Francis and his eleven companions who walked to Rome in 1209 to present themselves, here at this church, to the Pope of the time, the powerful Pope Innocent III. Here Francis seeks approval for a rule of life.

We get to make pizza together and visit St Isidore’s College. The College is one of several houses in Rome dependent on the Minister General of the Franciscan Order. It is the home of the Collegium Sanci Bonaventurae – International Center for Franciscan Studies and Research. We will enjoy a visit, lecture and Mass at the College.

Furthermore, as Australians we gather as a community of faith to celebrate with great joy, Australia’s first Saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop!

Saturday 13 April 2024 onwards – Our pilgrimage continues back in Australia in our own life and in our own communities of faith.

FSA welcomes all pilgrims! We commit ourselves to your service.

ACCOMODATION

Friday 29 March – Saturday 30th March 2024. [overnight]

•Rome: Casa Per Ferie Ravasco, San Pietro, Via Stazione San Pietro, 37 Roma, ITALY

T | +39 06 632701     E| [email protected]  W | https://www.casaravascosanpietro.com/en/

Saturday 30th March – Sunday 07 April 2024.

•Assisi: Suore Francescane Angeline(Angeline Franciscan Sisters)

Via Metastasio, 18, 06081 ASSISI (PG)

T | 075.81.55.116      E| [email protected] W | https://www.angeline.it/case-di-accoglienza/case-di-accoglienza/assisi/

Sunday 07 April – Friday 12 April 2024.

•Rome: Casa Preziosissimo Sangue (Precious Blood Sisters)

Via di Santa Maria Mediatrice, 8, 00165 Roma RM, Italy

T | +39 06 636600      E| [email protected] W | https://www.casapreziosissimosangue.it/

Stephen ofm

National Executive Coordinator