Monday, October 22, 2018

Sculptures of Saint Francis - Assisi

Sculpture of Saint Francis in Assisi

Assisi is filled with images of St. Francis. There are the fantastic frescos of Giotto and Cimabue in the Basilica of St. Francis. There are images on the sides of houses. But there are also some extraordinary metal sculptures near Franciscan sites.

One I hadn’t seen when I was in Assisi in 2013 and may be new is Francis with a locust near the church of St. Mary of the Angels, in the exit from the cloisters and the store.

For me, this image presents Francis in communion with all of creation. He is standing there, with a leg up against the nearby pillar, holding a locust, barely touching it. The gentleness of his touch impressed me - as I also encountered such creatures of God around my house.

There are two sculptures near the church of San Damiano that present two other dimensions of St. Francis. In a clearing between trees, with a view of the valley, Francis is sitting in meditation, in communion with God.

Just by the entrance to the square in front of San Damiano is an image of a poor man, beleaguered by the wind and the rain. I think of how Francis sought to identify with the marginalized of his day, as Jesus became poor for our sake.

There is also a group of three images in the Eremo delle Carceri, the place where Francis and his early companions sought a refuge for prayer in the caves that dot the mountainside that I photographed in 2013. 

This time I happened onto the plaque, in Italian, that seems to say that there are images of Francis, Juniper, and another brother gazing at the stars in the sky. 

The wonder that Francis showed for all creation come through.

There are others, but these are for me the most evocative of Francis – in communion with creation, in communion with God, identifying with the marginalized, and in awe of all that God has made.

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