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Holy Valley: The sanctuary of Fonte Colombo

Go for a trekking to the place where St Francis wrote his Rule

Fonte Colombo is where St Francis fasted in meditation for 40 days in order to write his third and last Rule, the one that the Church recognised as authentic. He came here three years before his death, when he had already completed his inner journey experience.

When here, visit the chapel of Santa Maria, inside the Sanctuary. St Francis left here a mark that he left in many places he visited – namely the famous Franciscan Tau.


Watch the full web serie Rieti & the holy valley

Cover pic courtesy of Flickr User Christopher John SSF

Thanks to Visit Lazio, Il Cammino di Francesco & MiBACT


Video full text: The Sanctuary of Fonte Colombo

Massimo is a travelling pilgrim trekker who is searching for ecumenical spirituality.
Together we’re climbing upwards through the wood, along the path that leads to Fonte Colombo.
We’re nearly there.
It is here that Francis fasted in meditation for 40 days in order to write the Rule.
Forty days, just like Jesus Christ in the desert.
The Rule itself has twelve points, just like the 12 apostles and the 12 constellations.
Numbers and symbols are ever present.
In any case, it is a really beautiful place.
It’s a bit cold, but thankfully you gave me this jacket.
Because you’re an Ambassador for Italia Slow Tour!
With the greatest pleasure.
I will tell them about this walk in America.
I work for the American publication “L’Italo Americano Magazine” and I’ll no doubt do a story on this.
We’ve arrived and Brother Marino, a priest, is waiting for us.
Welcome, peace and all good.
How did you receive your vocation brother?
It happened when I asked myself what this life is all about.
All of us ask ourselves that question often, I’m sure.
Francis didn’t want to change the world, he didn’t want to change people.
If anything he wanted to change himself.
That’s where it always starts from, I had to fight the first revolution inside of me.
They were difficult years, it was necessary to understand what it was that Francis felt.
This place is fundamental, Francis came here three years before his death.
When he had already completed his inner journey experience.
He had already drawn up a proposal for fraternal life with his first companions.
Here, he had to really commit something to paper
Here, he wrote his third and last rule, the one that the Church recognised as authentic.
It was this that was gave rise to Franciscanism
The Franciscan Rule had not proved easy for Francis to write.
He believed that the only rule was that of living according to the life of Jesus.
This little book contains our Franciscan Rule, approved by the Church.
It’s all in here?
There are 12 short chapters that describe the life of the Friars Minor.
Observe the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
Living in obedience without property and in chastity.
If we all truly did this what type of world would this be?
An extraordinary one! We’re trying to do just that, with so many limitations and so many frailties.
It’s almost a happy degrowth, as many environmentalists are hoping for.
So here we are at the chapel of Santa Maria
We’re in the Sanctuary of Fonte Colombo’s most important place.
This small structure, that dates from the time of Saint Francis,
was the only place where he could shelter from the inclement weather
It’s where undoubtedly he was able to pray
This place contains some very important frescos
that the supervisory body has helped us to bring back to light through a restoration.
There’s a scantily dressed Magdalene, totally covered by her long hair.
She is accompanied by the angels.
A woman with this exaggeratedly long hair that flows down to her feet, and a jar of nard oil.
This refers to the Gospel text that says:
That woman bathed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.
After having broken a jar of perfumed oil
Here is a much more recent fresco of St Claire.
This benedictory Christ was already here in ancient times.
Saint Francis himself came here, yes, him!
He left a mark that he left in many places he visited – namely the famous Franciscan Tau.
Francis made this mark in all the hovels he lived in with his companions,
even where he stopped to spend the night.
Talking of hovels, shall we go and have a look at the cave too?
Heartfelt thanks for this visit!
We wish Massimo a journey of renewal and conversion along our paths.
I came here specifically for this.
So Massimo, convert!
I am already converting.
It is necessary to be as ecumenical as possible and to take everything in.
We’re going to take a look at the famous cave of St Francis, a very panoramic place.
St Francis truly was a hermit.
He used to hide himself away in these ravines that are like the uteri of the earth,
places for hermits for whom isolation from the world was necessary in order to reconnect with the sacred.
Reading the Rule of St Francis I find a chapter that is a message for us:
In addition to poverty, chastity and obedience, the Rule speaks of how the brothers must travel the world!
Let’s travel the world too!
Hi, you belong to the CAI (Italian Alpine Club) don’t you?
Yes, we’re from the Rieti section.
We’re heading for Rieti and then the Sanctuary of the Forest,
on the side opposite the mountain, that one down there in the sunlight, see how beautiful it is.
I’d like to come as well.
You’re well equipped and you already have a rucksack.
Are you coming with us Massimo?
Me and Davola, my dog, will continue our journey, so I think we’ll say our farewells here.
Have a good trip!

Italia Slow Tour

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