Umbria, land of Saints

St. Francesco d’Assisi, patron of Italy, and St. Benedetto da Norcia, patron of Europe, two important saints, both born and lived in a small strip of Umbria…, …that has inside a great history of mysticism and an extraordinary variety of natural landscapes on which man has left the indelible imprint of his work.

S. Francesco d’Assisi (1182-1226)

From a worldly life and carefree youth, was converted to an evangelical life to serve Jesus Christ whom he had met in particular in the poor and disinherited, making himself poor. Together with the first brothers who followed him, attracted by the force of his example, preached to all the lands the Lord’s love, contributing to the renewal of the Church. In love with Christ brought in his body the marks of the Passion. In him, as the greatest mystics, is reinstated the harmony with the cosmos. He was inspirer and the father of religious families who take their name from him. Pius XII proclaimed him patron saint of Italy in June 18, 1939. He is considered the greatest saint of the late Middle Ages. To him it touched, in a providential way, to give the answer to the deepest questions of his time. Having put in clear light with his life the universal principles of the Gospel, with a simplicity and amazing kindness, without imposing anything to anyone, had an extraordinary impact that continues even today, not only in the Christian world but also outside it. Read more.

Magione is fully part of the history of the Franciscans. The original name of the village of Magione was Pian di Carpine. This is the home of the famous friar Giovanni da Pian di Carpine, that long before Marco Polo revealed the secrets of the Orient to Europe and, before the “Million”, wrote the “Historia Mongalorum” (“History of the Mongols”). Friar John had received the Order to Porziuncola, from S. Francis, around 1215, perhaps after meeting him in a rest at the ‘Hospitale” in Pian di Carpine. In 1221, he was sent as a missionary in Germany; in 1228 was the Provincial Minister in Cologne. Brother John spread the Order, as well as in Germany, Spain, Poland, Bohemia. In 1245 he was sent by Pope Innocent IV at the Great Khan of the Tartars groped for dialogue with the Mongolian population, which had begun to invade Eastern Europe. After a long and painful journey from Lyon to Karakorum, he came to the Golden Horde, handed the papal letters to the Güyük Great Khan, Genghis Khan’s successor, and in 1247 he returned home. As bishop of Antivari in Montenegro died in 1252. Before died, he left handwritten history of his trip, the customs of the Mongols and Tartars and its embassy in the book “History of the Mongols.”

San Benedetto da Norcia (480-546)

Founder of Western monasticism, who is opposed to East basically ascetic, established the rule that started the Christian-Roman monasticism with its motto Ora et labora. The rule that he dictated will not be a phenomenon only Italian, but it will be exported throughout Europe. Charlemagne will support it. There were also many new religious orders, male and female, which arose later and were inspired by the Rule of St. Benedict. And so the insights of Benedict were able to shape thousands of monks across the continent, and its impact on the people and clergy of the time and the following centuries was enormous. For this there is little wonder that Paul VI has proclaimed him Patron of Europe.

Umbria is a land that has always expressed a deep spirituality. There are hundreds of saints venerated in the towns and cities, and then the hermits, a multitude of people who have nourished their spirit of harmony of nature and the evocative power of these places. Some are virtually unknown, their name is linked only to a remote church in the countryside or a sanctuary that seems almost impossible to achieve.

As Santa Cecilia from Montelovesco (Gubbio) – declared saint soon after his death by the rural population who had known the mystical virtues and experienced the therapeutic power – who lived in the thirteenth century between Gubbio and Umbertide. Relied on for centuries to get the fertility of women and the health of babies to all childhood. The church is in a remote gorge in the mountains. Cecilia lived in a cave and the water of the river that flows in that place is considered therapeutic…

Many places of worship arose where there were already a hermitage, a chapel with the relics of a saint or shrine with the image of the Virgin and, after a miraculous event, became the object of particular popular devotion. This is what happened to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Miracles of Castel Rigone built in the sixteenth century near a bush that, uprooted for the behest of a “beautiful lady” appeared to the domestic servant of the parish priest in 1490, showed a stretch of wall with the beautiful image of the Virgin suckling her Divine Son. On the place where it was found was then built a Sanctuary and the painting is part of its perimeter.