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August 2: Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula

When St. Francis had his conversion, he set about repairing three chapels. The third was popularly called the Portiuncula or the “Little Portion,” dedicated to St. Mary of the Angels. The chapel and the land belongs to the Benedictines. The friars came to live at the Little Portion in early 1211. It became the “motherhouse” of the Franciscans. This is where St. Clare came to the friars to make her vows during the night following Palm Sunday in 1212 and where Sister Death came to Francis on Oct. 3, 1226. The Benedictines wanted to give Francis the church but in order to remain faithful to Lady Poverty, Francis rented it from them with the annual compensation of a basket of fish from the Tescio river — a rent which is continued to be paid until this very day. It is now enclosed in a basilica at Assisi.

St. Francis of Assisi persuaded Pope Honorius III to grant a plenary indulgence to all those who visited the Portiuncula on August 2 and confessed their sins. This indulgence has been extended to all churches, especially those held by Franciscans, throughout the world.

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