Day Eight

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Day Eight was January 4th. That evening we stumbled upon an Internet Point and so I have already posted a preliminary report on that day. This would be the day to visit Giano del Umbria and the Abbey of San Felice. The picture below was taken in the summer of 2003.


This was supposed to be a day to sleep in a bit since Mass would be at the Abbey later in the morning. Still, it seems, I was on California time and was still waking up pretty early. I created my own Office of Readings and Morning Prayer out of the Ordinary Time Breviary I still had, and then joined my traveling companions for a walk up the hill for Breakfast at Gran Café. We had discovered this little place the night before and were to make it our place for breakfast for the next three mornings.


Then we drove over to Giano to visit the Abbey of San Felice. There are really no words to describe this sacred place. The chapel is built in the 4th century over the tomb of the 4th century Bishop/Martyr St. Felix. The 8th-9th century church still reflects the style of that time with the Altar in a sanctuary that is over the heads of the congregation down below.


The attached Abbey is from the 12th century and was used by the Benedictines and later by the Augustinians. It had been abandoned when we received in 1815. The Abbey was confiscated from the CPPS during World War II and only recently and slowly has the congregation received it back. There are still parts of the Abbey that have not been restored. Fr. Luciano showed us some of the newer sections recently restored and they are quite beautiful.

The Tour of the Abbey also included a visit to the modern painting of St. Gaspar that is a favorite of mine.


There is also a favorite portrayal of the Madonna in the upper floors. This painting is probably from the Benedictine period as it is dated 1494. Since I have posted a picture of this to my blog before, I have seen it make its way around the internet.


Everyone who visits San Felice gets their picture taken in front of the Statue of St. Gaspar.


After a little tour of the place we retired to the crypt chapel where we celebrated the Eucharist. It is always a special treat to return to the birthplace of the congregation and it was a special joy to celebrate Mass there that day.


After Mass we headed up the hill to Ristorante Rifugio San Gaspare.

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As expected it was a fabulous meal. We were seated near the open fire and as we arrived he took some of the dough he was preparing and placed it on a large round stone in the fire. After several minutes we had the hot bread on our table along with some of the local agua frizzante and a very rich red wine.


Then he was serving some olives with orange and garlic, followed by meats and cheeses, and then this little lentil mixture over bread and sausage. This last little dish had such a remarkable taste that Donalyn immediately set out to find out what was in it and how to make it; then came the pasta tartufo.


Then we had a little Gnocchi con fungi at which time the activity around the fire became somewhat intense as the mixed grill began sizzling behind us. We were served grilled lamb, chicken, beef and rabbit along with some delightful sausages that they had made themselves.


Afterwards we were served salad, gelato with espresso, and then some delightful after dinner drinks. I was still trying to introduce my friends to grappa and was slowly gaining a convert in Sr. Mary Mark. We are also served some limoncello which seemed to be standard fare in Italian restaurants, but here we were introduced to a remarkable liqueur that we had never tasted before. It was incredible and we made sure we got pictures of it and knew how to find it when we got home. So far we have not found any store who knows of this or knows how to get it. We have found it on the Internet, but there seems to be no way to order it. It is called Eliser Gambrinus. They served it right out of the freezer and it has a taste I would find difficulty describing.


After that remarkable meal we wound our way back down the hill and after a brief stop at the Abbey we got back on the road to Assisi. Back at the guesthouse some took naps and others of us took a walk which was when we found the Internet café. It was amazing to spend about a half an hour there for the equivalent of about 40 cents. Then we met for dinner at the Pizzeria Il Monachi which was becoming our favorite place in Assisi. We had said that after the marvelous Pranzo we would never need to eat again, but it is funny how that opinion changes around dinner time. Dinner time or Cena in Italy is late and restaurants don’ even open until about 7:30pm. After Cena we headed back to the quest house and retired for the night. It had been another long, rich and grace filled day.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on January 24, 2007 2:17 PM.

Day Seven was the previous entry in this blog.

Day Nine is the next entry in this blog.

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