A few kilometers from Rieti, on the top of a wooded hill, the sanctuary of Fonte Colombo stands surrounded by silence and peace

At the time of Saint Francis, the place was known by the name of Monte Rainero, only later assuming the current one, traditionally traced back to a clear water spring that still exists today and that the Saint saw for the first time in this place in 1217. Lots of white doves drank from this spring, the reason why Francis gave it the name of Fons columbarum, a name that later was given also to the Sanctuary.
In the summer of 1223 Saint Francis came to Fonte Colombo to write the third and definitive Rule of the Order, a summary of the previous one: retired for a prayer for forty days in a large fissure in the rock – the Sacred Cave – under the small church of the Magdalene, the Saint had the official confirmation of his Rule by God, definitively approved by Pope Honorius III in the autumn of the same year. That’s the reason why the small sanctuary came to be known in the religious history of the Catholic world as “Franciscan Sinai”, a sacred place of faith.

In January 1226 the saint returned back to Fonte Colombo where he underwent the cauterization of the optic nerve: the episode, recalled by the Saint’s biographers who praise his courage in front of “friar foco”, has been immortalized in a stained glass window of the convent church.

To be visited are the church, the hermitage, the Sacred Cave with the chapel of Saint Michael and the cloister of the Sanctuary.

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