Anne's Blog

A Montefalco Highlight, Suor Giovanna

Date: April 20, 2013 - categories: , , - Leave your thoughts

Montefalco, noted for its fine Sagrantino wines, loom-woven linen textiles and the stunning Museo of San Francesco, hides many a secret as well. Suor Giovanna is one. She remains – for me – a Montefalco highlight. An Augustinian nun and follower of St. Clare of Montefalco, 14th- century medieval saint, she lives in cloister in the convent attached to the Church of St. Clare. Baroque splendor replaced the original medieval church – and even St. Clare’s relics are now ensconced in ornate reliquaries: her heart (with heart muscle in the shape of a cross) is the most revered relic (but not the only one!). It is said that in the early 14th-century, she met Christ in the convent garden carrying His cross and offered to bear it herself. She suffered pains in her heart all her life – “because Christ’s cross was embedded in it”, Suor Giovanna explained to me and a group of fascinated visitor as she showed us the heart.

Suor Giovanna in the medieval cloister


Suor Giovanna then invited us into the cloister after showing us the original medieval church frescoed with an image of the meeting of Clare and Christ. In the cloister, she showed us the wheel where medicines, groceries are delivered to the sisters (who do not meet the public). “Ah, look what we have today! A villager left us tomatoes,” smiled Suor Giovanna. Nearby, Suor Giovanna proudly showed us an immense rotting tree trunk, assuring us “that is the tree which sprouted when Christ thrust his staff into the garden the day he met Clare.” She then proudly led us into the cloister garden, bursting with springtime blooms, to show us the trees there which sprouted from the seeds of that tree. The Agustinians living in the convent make rosaries now from the seeds (and many of our group purchase them that day).

A magnifcent Byzantine crucifix and other treasures lined the walls of the 17th- c convent cloister (the newest one). Fascinating were the “ex-votos” (“out of a vow”), that is, thanks for a favor received. Naif wooden panel paintings of the 17th-century illustrated miracles St. Clare had worked in response to a prayer, her image in a nimbus cloud on the left, the miracle or the interceding on the right. Suor Giovanna’s surprises just kept coming: as we turned a corner, we were in the original 14th – c cloister where St. Clare had walked, prayed.

I chatted with Suor Giovanna as our group took pictures, curious to know how she had chosen cloistered life. She was clearly radiantly happy. “It was a dream as a child. My family didn’t believe me – I was a mischievous little one,” she chuckled.

Click here to read about Montefalco

Montefalco pleasures





Suor Giovanna highlights







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)