Our journey ends at La Verna, site of deep importance to Francis and to the
entire Christian tradition. The land here was given to Francis in 1213, as a
place "apt for spiritual retreat and renewal". During his first visit here, the
tradition speaks of Francis' experience of Christ speaking with him tenderly in
Toward the end of his life, in 1224, Francis returned to La Verna for a period
of prayer and fasting. It is this stay that has been immortalized in art and
literature as the full realization of Francis' partnership with Christ. We call it
the "stigmatization,” the sharing of Christ's wounds on the cross. In his
description of this moment in Francis' life, Bonaventure describes how
Francis' ardent love for God now literally burst forth from his body, and the
union of the two was made incarnate.
Surrounded by the piercing beauty of the Casentino National Forest, our stay
at La Verna makes it easy to settle into the loving embrace of God.