ASSISI, ITALY — For almost eight centuries, pilgrims venerating St. Francis have come to the picturesque hilltop town of Assisi, 100 miles northeast of Rome, where the saint was born in 1182. Here was where he founded three religious orders and died at age 45.
Less known, especially by American Catholics, is Assisi’s legacy as a sanctuary for thousands of refugees displaced during World War II, including approximately 300 Jews who were hidden in the city’s convents, monasteries and private homes.
Religious and civil leaders of wartime Assisi dramatically mirrored the saint’s message of compassion and peacemaking. The compassion they extended to outsiders while Allied and Axis forces...READ MORE