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The Assisi Pilgrimage Experience

posted Mar 27, 2011, 11:07 AM by Golden Knight   [ updated Mar 29, 2011, 2:25 PM ]

Posted in Campus 

By Julian Vischer


What is a brother? Is it a person to share a home with? Is it someone to compete with? The meaning of a brother goes much deeper than that. A brother is someone with whom to experience, live, and journey. He grows spiritually with you while aiding you alongside your path. He goes through life changing events with you right by your side and understands you from the depth of your soul.

On last year’s pilgrimage to Assisi, thirty St. Francis students became brothers. We walked the path St. Francis himself walked, praying and growing together along the way. I can honestly say that I have never bonded more with any other group of people, and the spiritual bonds made on the Assisi pilgrimage will last forever.

The countryside is beautiful, the architecture is magnificent, and each bite of pasta is better than the last. What is there not to love about Italy? Walking the streets of Assisi with your brothers is incredible, and the sense of freedom truly allows the pilgrims to experience the country. I will never forget playing soccer in a courtyard with some of the Italian kids or pretending to know what I’m talking about while haggling with some of the local shop owners. And of course, who could forget the Italian women?

One problem some students may encounter is the cost required for the pilgrimage. Last year it cost $3,500. I know it seems like a lot, but it is entirely possible to work all of it off. We had a connection last year to one of the companies that runs the concession stands at the Rose Bowl, so we worked during some of the games and events. We had a bowl-a-thon to help us raise money and I cleaned my neighbor’s backyard every Saturday for a few dollars an hour. The money is definitely an obstacle, but if you really want it, it can be overcome.

The Assisi pilgrimage is a place where friends become brothers. My goal is to make every student on campus feel loved and like he is a part of the community. We need as many people as possible to walk St. Francis’s footsteps and bring the brotherhood back home, and I hope that as many people go through the same experiences I did and go on this year’s pilgrimage.