Merry Christmas!!!!! Today we left Assisi and traveled to Greccio - where Francis began the wonderful tradition of the Creche (Nativity Scene). We climbed the mountain in the bus and the last leg of the journey up was on feet in the rain. When we reached the top we experienced an amazing Christmas Mass together! We sang Christmas carols and truly entered into the Spirit! The grounds were beautiful even in the rain. After Mass we took a short historical tour of the area. When we finished we headed into the small town of Greccio and enjoyed a Christmas Feast! SO MUCH AMAZING FOOD! We each received a Christmas gift from our group leaders - a small creche to take home!
We finished our time at Greccio a bit early which led to another surprise: a trip to another site that was critical to the story of Francis, Fonte Columbo (Fountain of the Doves). Here Francis composed the rule with Brother Leo for the brothers in 1223. Fr. Andre introduced us to a friar that lives here who gave us a behind the scenes tour of a hermitage from the 15th century - even our leaders had not seen this hermitage yet and in fact it hadn't been used for quite some time. It was completely amazing to see!
We then traveled to Rome and settled into out new home together. Rome certainly was a culture shock for all of us, and that is putting it lightly. We took a walk around our neighborhood and visited the Vatican briefly. After stopping for a quick bite to eat we came back to the hotel to prepare fore another busy day tomorrow!