Today, August 2, is the Franciscan Feast of the Portiuncula, the “mother church” of the Franciscan Order. This little church in the valley outside the city of Assisi was one of the most important places for St. Francis during his own lifetime. In the early sources we read that this was the only place that the friars were permitted (if not commanded) to keep. It remains an important pilgrimage site in the Franciscan family. I had the great fortune to visit the the Portiuncula chapel (Portiuncula means “little portion”), while in Assisi in 2004. While it was at one time a freed-standing church, today it stands within a large basilica that was built over the tiny little church. On this day when we remember the place of this church, Our Lady of the Angels — it’s official name, I thought it would be nice to share what Thomas Merton, the 20th-Century Trappist Monk and Author, said about the Portiuncula and the feast itself in his journal.

The Porticuncula always brings me great blessings – and that is the Franciscan side, which continues to grow also…The feast brings graces of contemplation and spiritual joy, because every church becomes that tiny little church that St. Francis loved above all others and everyone in the world can share the bliss of his sanctity. (August 2, 1948)

May you have a blessed day and remember your Franciscan sisters and brothers in your prayers! Peace and all Good!

This post was originally published to on August 2, 2011. I will be away until August 12, so regular posting of articles on will be suspended. See you when I return!



  1. St. Francis had a special reverence for all churches. On sighting a church, St Francis would pray: “We adore Thee, Our Most Holy Lord, Jesus Christ, in all Thy churches which are in the world, and we bless Thee, because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world, with Mary.” However, he had a special attachment to the Portiuncula officially known as “St. Mary of the Angels.” This is a good day to renew our reverence to the mother church of the Franciscans and to all churches throughout the world. God has been very good to us.

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