Maggie checked into her room, opened up her suitcase, and started putting things where they would be needed: toiletries in the bathroom, nightgown by the bed. She set the alarm clock on the nightstand for 7 AM, took her notebook and pen over to the work table, and sat down. She had written down a list of things she wanted to learn while she was in Assisi, and she was going to need Brother Ventimiglio’s help with most, if not all, of her to-do list. She looked at her watch: it was 3 PM. She grabbed her purse and headed over to the basilica.
She had no idea where to find Brother Ventimiglio. She walked down the steps into the lower church and saw several Franciscan brothers. She walked up to one and made the mistake of speaking. She was quickly whisked out and walked upstairs by one of the brothers.
“Non parlare nella chiare inferiore, signora,” he said. Maggie pulled out her dictionary and tried to translate what she had heard. The brother, seeing what she was doing, put his hand on the book and looked at her, raising his eyebrows and asking permission to take it. Maggie gave it to him, and after a few moments, the brother said, “No talk lower church.”
“Scusa,” said Maggie. She indicated she wanted the dictionary back. Armed with a few Italian words, she asked if the brother knew where Brother Ventimiglio might be. The friar nodded, held up his finger to indicate Maggie should wait, and left. Several minutes later, he returned with Brother Ventimiglio.
In anticipation of this meeting, Maggie had written a note in fractured Italian, and she gave it to Ventimiglio. He read it, smiled, and nodded enthusiastically. Maggie had asked if they could meet tomorrow – did he have several hours? She smiled at him and shook his hand.
“Grazie.” She turned and left.
Maggie went back to the hotel, had a lovely dinner, and went back up to her room. She spent the evening writing another note in Italian: the questions she wanted answered.
(1) Can you tell me about the Third Order?
(2) How is the friar organization related to the Third Order?
(3) I read that St. Francis was a soldier. Can you tell me about that time in his life?
(4) Can you tell me about the tomb of St. Francis? Was he buried with any artifacts?
(5) Have you ever seen anything like this?
Maggie drew a sketch of the amulet at the bottom of the piece of paper. She again set the alarm clock for 7 AM, took a shower, and went to bed.
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