Hermitage of Le Celle near Cortona

Eremo "Le Celle" : "Santuario Le Celle" : "Convento delle Celle"

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Franciscan Santuario Le Celle (Hermitage of Le Celle)

Santuario Le Celle (Hermitage of Le Celle)

The friars' garden at Le Celle

The friars' garden at Le Celle

St Francis' cell at Le Celle

La Cella di San Francesco

The Cella di San Francesco is believed to be the place where, in May 1226, four months before his death in Assisi, St Francis dictated his Will. Following his death, in October of the same year, Brother Elia withdrew permanently to the Le Celle hermitage in 1239 and carried out a number of improvements. The walls built under Brother Elia are rough but solid, and the hermitage contains eight small rooms large enough for a bed, a table and a chair – the essential furnishings prescribed by St Francis himself for a Franciscan hermitage, where the prime importance was to lead a life given over to contemplation. After Brother Elia’s death in Cortona in 1253, the Franciscan order fell into a complicated series of internal divisions. The hermitage was occupied by a community of "Spirituali", or "Fraticelli", until they were banished in 1363 after suffering excomunication from Pope John XXII. Le Celle stood abandoned until 1537, when it was granted by the Bishop of Cortona to the recdently founded Third Order of Franciscans, known as the Capucins. The hermitage was considerably enlarged by the Capucins, who in 1634 erected a new chapel to take the place of the ancient chapel dedicated to St Michael. This new chapel was consecrated to St Anthony of Padua and reflects the simple, unpretentious architectural and decorative style of the Capucins. Unadorned by works of art, the chapel still has wooden altars.

Currently the hermitage is inhabited by seven Franciscan friars.

Accommodation: The convent is able to offer lodgings to those contemplating a vocational life and who are willing to take part in all of the community’s activities. Near the convent there are some 40 bed spaces available in houses for independent groups of visitors.
Spiritual retreat: Le Celle is able to offer a period of solitary prayer to priests for a minimum period of one week and lasting up to a month if necessary. This facility is available in a small hermitage above the convent itself.

Eremo "Le Celle" : "Santuario Le Celle" : "Convento delle Celle"

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