Chiesa Santa Chiara at daybreak
I could us this space to further document the wonderful weekend, to talk about the kindness of friends, the friends who had an unfortunate experience on Thursday, their home having been broken into. I could talk about the curry dinner that my friend Giselle and I prepared for us and their two guests, my new friends Roberto who makes his living studying food and Max, the professional opera tenor, and how we all sang "itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini" not once, but several times. I could go on forever about the next day and the lunch that Gis, Mark and I had at one of their favorite local restaurants. Food, too good to be real. A fire in the fireplace, a true example of an Umbrian restaurant and the best of Umbrian food and wine. I could tell you how wonderful that meal supported my efforts to take my friends from their aftershock to feeling once again secure and happy in their home......but, I want to tell you about 6:45 this morning and how I started my week.
Chiesa Santa Chiara is one of the major churches in Assisi. Built in honor of the best friend of Saint Francis, it occupies a beautiful space in a piazza that is not far from the apartment. The church, for all its importance in the religious world, has a simple interior. No statues, very liittle adornment. To one side is a small chapel and it is in this small but sacred space that the Klarisen, the sisters of Saint Claire, start and end each day in song. At 6:45 they sing morning song, followed by Mass and again, evening vespers at 18:45.
The sisters can't be seen. They are cloistered, they live in the convent adjacent to the church. They are behind a glass wall to the side of the altar, but.......they can be heard. Clear and sweet, welcoming the day in prayer as they have for centuries. Unchanged, unhurried and magnificent in their humility. I was moved and grateful to be there.
For one half hour, I was in the company of angels. I did not need to see them to know that they were real. I heard them and my heart stopped and I needed very little else to make me as happy as I have ever been.