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Portiuncula Chapel, Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels; Portiuncula, Italy

Portiuncula, Italy, is located less than a mile from Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis, most closely associated with the origins and beginnings of the present-day Franciscan Order of priests of the Roman Catholic Church.  According to church history, it was in Portiuncula that St. Francis as a young man discovered his life-long calling, vocation.  In his later years,  he returned to Portiuncula where he was presented with a small chapel, now the Chapel of Portiuncula, built not far from the small room or cell in which he lived and ultimately died.  Eventually, and by papal decree, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels was constructed over what is now the current site of the Chapel of Portiuncula.  Nearby, and also under the basilica’s high-arching walls, is the small room or cell where St. Francis lived his last days.  Portiuncula, the chapel and the basilica are popular pilgrimage sites, especially as they relate to milestones in the life and legacy of St. Francis.

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