Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Accidental Pilgrims: Part One

For those of you who don't know the background story, Angela and I met whilst enclosed in a Poor Clare Convent for 40 days and nights. We had both been selected to take part in a BBC2 documentary, imaginatively called "The Convent". We met for the first time at the gates of the enclosure and, much to everyone's surprise, we hit it off immediately. Now, Angela and I come from very different walks of life, and probably would not have pegged each other as pals, but we share a common honesty and humour that cut through all divides. I left the enclosure absolutely sure that one of the greatest gifts of the experience was the lasting, enriching friendship we had made - a sister infact!. That was in February 2006. Since then, we have shared a strange year, including the revamping of our lives according to our Franciscan lessons and the survival of the television broadcast experience.

Far from being convert christians, we had and have a lot of questions. But, during our stay at Crossbush, we talked long and hard about our lives (ok, we were meant to be silent!), including the journey we were on. At one point, we had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Andre Cirino, a visiting Franciscan priest and we told him of our dream of renovating Angela's house in Tuscany and turning it into a retreat centre, and of our intention to one day travel to Assisi, to the birthplace of Francis and Clare, and that we would see him there. Apparently he didn't believe us!

We have shared every part of our journey, speaking daily on the phone. One day, in September, I telephoned Angela and said - "hey, how about we do that trip to Assisi". We were both broke and said "well, if we can do it on our little budget we will go...". We managed to get a flight form a local airport for a penny, and through a series of 'coincidences' found somewhere we could stay for donations (CEFID). Not only that, but we found out that the only flight we could get, was taking us into Assisi on the eve of the Feast of St Francis, about the most important time in the Franciscan/Assisi calendar! We emailed Andre and said "See you there!" and off we ventured, 2 accidental pilgrims of the heart. This is the first part of our journey...

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