Il sole splende sulla Croce delle Indulgenze - Convento di celle fondato da San Francesco a Cortona
"The sun shines on the Cross of Indulgences - Convent of cells founded by San Francesco in Cortona"...
Known as Le Celle, this Franciscan hermitage is just five miles from Cortona at the foot of Mount Sant’ Egidio. In 1211, St. Francis along with a few of his followers built the first nine cells of the hermitage, and it has taken the name of Le Celle ever since. Inside the tiny cell belonging to St. Francis is a tiny window, the bed on which he slept, his desk, and a painting of the Madonna and Child where he prayed. The Hermitage invokes a peaceful atmosphere of spirituality and solitude, yet it is vibrant with religious life. Currently, the hermitage is inhabited by seven friars who continue to practice the teachings of St. Francis. I found Le Celle to be one of the pleasant surprises in and around Cortona. The tiny cells built into the side of the mountain with a stream descending along the structural edge, creates a surreal and picturesque vision of Saint Francis’ image of God and nature. The convent is able to offer lodgings to those contemplating a vocational life. Just inside one of the doors to Le Celle, I noticed the sunlight shining delicately through the transom window gently illuminating the old wooden door and cross. This image epitomizes all the simplicities in which Saint Francis preached and lived. It represents his spartan structure with the rough textured concrete walls, antique faded wooden door, the green trees in nature which he loved, and the mystic evening sun softening the aging appearance, and revealing his simple life of prayer and personal austerity.
- Dino Carbetta
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