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San Damiano College
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"Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words."
Franciscan Value - Community
Greccio is the place where, in 1223. Francis re-enacted the scene of the birth of Jesus in the cave of Bethlehem. Francis called his companions, the poor and the rich, and all creatures to share his joy in the celebration of Christ's birth and his wish was granted beyond all expectations. That first night, the village of Greccio resounded with the songs of the friars from the surrounding hermitages, the shepherds and the farmers. Francis ascended the steep paths, singing the hymns which he himself had composed using words from the psalms. For Franciscans, the celebration at Greccio renews the wonder of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem and reminds us of our obligation to be his joy and peace in our world. The colour of Greccio house — Maroon- comes from the observation that those who celebrated that nativity re-enactment turned the dark chill of the night into a stronger time of day. Maroon represents the strength of Christ in the world.
"Actions speak louder than words. Let your actions speak."
Franciscan Value — Respect
Perugia was the city near Assisi where Francis was confined from 1202 to 1203 after being taken prisoner at the battle of Collestrada. Assisi and Perugia were bitter enemies. The Assisians were defeated, Francis was taken prisoner, and many of his friends lay mortally wounded in the fields. He suffered very much from his confinement but continued to remain cheerful.
Francis was ransomed by his father and he returned to Assisi a changed person. He began to seek out quiet places to pray in search for the will of God in his life. This time of imprisonment in Perugia triggered the first step in his conversion experience. It was, for him, the opportunity to consider the world and his place in it.
It was during his confinement in Perugia that he was able to explore his life and make meaning of it — from the constraints of imprisonment came the richness of certainty. The colour green was chosen for this house because of the rolling hills and pastures seen from Francis' prison walls. Green symbolises the growth that occurred in Francis' life after his release from Perugia. Green also represents Francis's love of creation and the environment.
"Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
Franciscan Value — Resilience
La Verna is the glorious sanctuary Francis and his companions came to six times for solitude: 1213, 1216, 1218, 1220, 1223, 1224. High on the mountain, in September 1224, on his last visit, Francis received the stigmata, the marks of the Passion of Christ upon his flesh. It was at this place, so legend tells us, that Francis wrote his Blessing for Brother Leo — a favourite blessing for all Franciscans- written on the back of the parchment he used for The Praises of God. La Verna is mystical. La Verna is strong! Once that knowledge of kinship and community is there, it will never be taken away. The colour blue was chosen for this house because it is the colour of the clear skies above La Verna.
"It is in giving that we receive."
Franciscan Value - Service
The Rieti Valley is considered one of the most important areas of Italy for Franciscans as it was in this place that Francis and his first companions started out on their journey, united by absolute poverty, solitude, simplicity of heart and a great love of God and creation. It is rich in Franciscan history. Francis found reconciliation and mercy here with his God in the Grotto of Revelation. It was also here that he first used the famous greeting, "Buon Giorno, buona gente", which means, "Good morning, good people!" In 1223 Francis withdrew here to write his final Rule.
In a small chapel, dedicated to Mary Magdalene, Francis marked the space at the side of the window with the Tau. This "T" shaped symbol was a biblical sign of redemption and is worn by many Franciscans. The colour orange was chosen for this house to represent the colour of the rooftops seen throughout the Rieti region.