+ The Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels is located about 2.5 miles from Assisi, Italy. It is named in honor of the Assumption of Mary.
+ Following his encounter with Christ in the Chapel of San Damiano, during which Francis heard the words, “Francis, Francis, go and repair my house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins,” Francis repaired the Chapel of San Damiano and other ruined churches in the region, including the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels.
+ The chapel was originally located on a small plot of land owned by a local Benedictine abbey. The nickname of the land, Porziuncola or “Little Portion,” was later applied to the chapel.
+ Francis built a small hut near the chapel and the site is considered the birthplace of the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans). It was here, on Palm Sunday 1211 that Saint Francis received Saint Clare of Assisi into the religious life.
+ At the end of his life, Francis asked to be taken back to the chapel and he died close by on October 3, 1226.
+ In the 16th century a basilica was built around the small chapel, enshrining both the Porziuncula and the hut of Saint Francis. Through the centuries, the chapel has been decorated with frescoes depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary and scenes from the life of Saint Francis.
+ Since the late 15th century a special indulgence—known as the Porziuncola Indulgence—can be gained from the afternoon of August 1 through the evening of August 2. Originally limited to the Porziuncola itself, it is available to the faithful who visit a Franciscan church (or cathedral or regular parish church if no Franciscan church or chapel is available). To learn more about the indulgence, visit: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/friar-lauds-indulgence-as-a-way-to-connect-with-st-francis/
Under her title “Our Lady of the Angels,” the Blessed Virgin Mary is also honored as the patroness of Costa Rica. There, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Angels in Cartago, is enshrined a small statue of the Virgin Mary cradling the Child Jesus. The statue was discovered by a girl who had gone out to collect firewood. The child took the statue home, but the next day she found the statue was not there and she found it back on the stone where she had found it. In time, a shrine was built on the site where the statue was found. Because of the dark color of the stone, the image is sometimes known as La Negrita.
Father, as we honor the memory of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Angels, we ask that by the help of her prayers we too may come to share the fullness of your grace.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Franciscan Supplement: The Liturgy of the Hours)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.