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La Verna, Italy: Where St. Francis received the Stigmata


About La Verna:

One of the most important sites to followers of Saint Francis is this small monastery located about 70 miles north of Assisi. The mountain known as La Verna was given to Saint Francis as a gift in 1213 and it was here that a small chapel was built in 1218, and named Our Lady of the Angels in response to a vision given to Saint Francis in which the Blessed Virgin Mary indicated not only the site where it was to be built, but the dimensions as well.

In 1224, concerned over some changes made in the Franciscan Friars Minor, Saint Francis came back to La Verna to pray and fast.

On September 14, 1224—feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, a seraph visited St. Francis of Assisi during his prayer. Francis was asking how to better please God, so he opened the Bible several times to read God’s Word. Repeatedly he opened to the account of our Lord’s crucifixion. He sensed that it was Christ’s crucifixion that best pleased God.

St Francis prayed:O Lord Jesus Christ, before I die I ask you for two graces; first, that in my lifetime I may feel, as far as possible, both in my soul and body, that pain which you, sweet Lord, endured in the hour of your most bitter Passion; second, that I may feel in my heart as far as possible that excess of love which moved you, O Son of God, to suffer so cruel a Passion for us sinners.”

As he prayed an angelic seraph appeared descending from heaven. The angel had six fiery and shining wings. Seraphim (or seraphs) are those angels who are closest to God, in constant praise and worship of his majesty, singing “Holy, holy, holy.” Between the seraph’s wings appeared a figure of a man whose hands and feet were fastened to a cross. Two wings floated above the head of the man, two extended outward for flight, and two covered his body.

Upon seeing this, St. Francis was flooded with emotions of both joy and sorrow: the tender and affectionate look of Christ towards him as he was carried by the seraph filled St. Francis with joy; yet the pain of being nailed to the cross caused St. Francis to experience great sorrow. This led to a wonderful dialogue of flaming love.

When the vision ended, St. Francis realized that he had received the stigmata, the miraculous impressions in his own flesh of the wounds of Jesus Christ: the nail prints appeared in his hands and feet with the nails and a wound piercing his side from which flowed blood. These wounds caused St. Francis constant pain, and would last two years until his death. The wounds helped him identify himself with the totality of Christ’s salvific love, a merciful love with an intensity that was blinding, like looking into the sun.

St. Paul too is believed to have received the stigmata, as he wrote: “Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (Galatians 6:17). St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina and St. Faustina were some of more recent saints who had received this grace. Yet we all can and should learn to experience and love the Cross in our ordinary lives. As St. Josemaría teaches:

“If we unite our little things—the insignificant or large difficulties—to the great sufferings of our Lord, the Victim (He is the only Victim!), their value increases, becoming a treasure, and then we will gladly embrace Christ’s Cross with style.
“Then every suffering will be conquered quickly, and no thing or person will take our peace and joy away” (The Forge, 785)


During this time, Saint Francis received the Stigmata (the wounds of Christ). These wounds emanated from a vision of a seraph in the form of a cross, and consisted of nail marks on his hands and feet, and a gash in the side of his chest.

Here in the Chapel of the Wounds you will see the rock upon which Saint Francis was sitting when he received the Stigmata (under glass in front of the altar). Groups traveling with a priest can celebrate mass here.

There are also several small chapels conducive to prayer and meditation.

A visit here can be truly inspirational and we urge you to include it if you are traveling independently. Some groups stop here, but others do not.

Be aware there are not many English-speaking people at La Verna so it would be well to read up on it before you visit so that you can understand everything that you are seeing.

There is a guest house here, and if you can, we suggest at least one night there. Additional facilities are available for groups of 20 or more. You will need to make reservations in advance, and chances are no one there speaks English.


Traveling to La Verna:

If you are traveling independently then it can be reached by car, bus or train. The nearby town of Bibbiena is about 6 miles from here, and would by the closest you can get by train and then you can take a bus from there.  Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.

Address: Via del Santuario, 45, Chiusi della Verna AR, Italy

GPS coordinates: 43° 42′ 26.1648” N, 11° 55′ 51.1572” E

Tel: +39 0575 5341

e-mail:  la.verna1213@gmail.com

Click here for the official website of the Sanctuary of LaVerna. (opens in new window). It is in Italian, so use the Google Translate button. Some really nice photos on this site, be sure to check them out.

Click here to find hotels in Bibbiena, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

⇐ Back to Catholic places of interest in Assisi area


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