In a church in Florence, Italy, my soul leaps.

St. Francis’s robe and belt:  I stood there meeting him heart to heart and spirit to spirit, examining the textures of the cloth, and the hand-stitched seams he had probably sewn himself. And then I kept coming back. Yes it was very much beyond beautiful.St. Francis of Assisi

We were there for hours. We had already spent months exploring ancient churches and spiritual centers, but felt few with the power of this simple robe. The Basilica of Santa Croce is a deeply moving spiritual and heart center, with a lovely tree-lined cloisters in its center. It holds the tombs of Michelangelo, Dante, Rossini, Galileo, Ghiberti, Machiaveli, Marconi, Fermi, Florence Nightingale, and many others. Paintings of the assumptions by Giotto, Cimabue, and the like. Art by della Robbia, Donatello, Venezianno.

I felt myself not just lifted up, but driven hard to my highest. I prayed for inspiration, and soon after published my novel.

But most moving and powerful of all was the time spent with St. Francis. We came away together; fused in spirit.

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