Report about the Pilgrimage Tour from Gubbio to Assisi
Saturday 10 to Wednesday 14 September 2016

The Fédération Française des Anciens Élèves et Amis des Établissements Jésuites d'Éducation (FFAAEJE) organized the pilgrimage tour from Gubbio to Assisi preceding the days before the European Encounters of Jesuit Alumni in Rome.

The participants in Gubbio in front of the statue of St Francis from Assisi

The three days of marching in the steps of Saint Francis – in which besides French alumni also alumni from Brazil, Lebanon, Cameroun, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland and accompanying persons participated began officially with a mass at the Chiesa San Francesco in Gubbio on Sunday morning.

The march on Sunday was easy - 15km to Casa Vecchia where the 53 participants were accommodated in three different houses. One group stayed at the Eremitaggio San Pietro, 8km further, where all participants reunited for mass the next morning.

In the Chapel of the Eremitaggio San Pietro

Monday’s march was long and strenuous for most participants – 19km officially but someone measured 29km on his app – and took its toll before Valfabbrica was reached.

Up and down on sometimes small pathes

In Valfabbrica the participants were accommodated in four different places. One group stayed at the Il Pioppo, 3km outside of Valfabbrica, where all participants reunited the next morning for breakfast followed by an hour of reflections.

Hour of reflections at Il Pioppo

Tuesday evening Assis was reached after marching 13km. After arriving there was time to visit the lower Basilica di San Francesco and the tomb of Saint Francis of Assisi.
After mass at the Monastero S. Colette all participants found accommodation in the Cittadela Pro Civitate Christiana in Assisi.

Wednesday morning everyone had to get up very early in order to make it to Rome (by bus or car) for assisting at the general audience on the Saint Peter’s Square.
The pilgrim group met again in the afternoon in the Séminaire Pontifical Français for the reunion of synthesis of the pilgrimage. Those staying in Rome had then the opportunity to visit together the Ignatian Places in Rome (Chiesa del Gesù and Chiesa Sant’Ignazio).

Chiesa Sant’Ignazio

Besides sharing and exchanging thoughts and ideas with others while walking through this most wonderful countryside in Umbria, there was each day an hour of silent marching which allowed time for personal reflections. And all of could not stop looking up to the horizon and contemplating the beauty of this marvellous creation, our earth. Our pilgrimage was a moment of sharing and of grand intensity. A big “Merci” to everyone who participated for the wonderful moments of exchange, sharing and spiritual discovery. The organisation was perfect: a grand “Bravo” to all responsible for the logistics. This pilgrimage helped us in our faith and in our desire to open us more to the Stranger. May Saint Francis of Assisi guide us in our daily life, in the same spirit of pilgrimage in communion with nature and mankind!


Damien, alumnus de St Jo Reims and participant, summarized in some lines the feelings all participants share.
The poem is in French, we left is so - for the beauty of the rhymes (!) :

Merci ami, not' chef François,

Pour l'idée dite, acte de foi,
Ton énergie, et sans émois,
Qui ont permis ce bel exploit.

François-Xavier nous as guidé,
Homme de paix, attentionné,
voie élevée, voix assurée.
A tes cotés, tous arrivés.

Et toi Loïc, homme agile,
Ce fut sans hic, n'était facile,
Mener les cliques d'amis subtils,
Sans être flic, car si gentil.

Patrick, le Père, le compagnon
De Jésus frère, par réflexion(s).
Tu as fait chair la compassion,
La Parole ère, en nos actions.

Aux autres mains :
Eric, Laurent, Brigitte, Pia, Michele, P. Dominique, Michel, et d'autres,
Mille mercis.