A small green area has recently been attached to the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, in Enna, with an olive tree and a statue of the saint surrounded by white doves. While we were going back home and passing by that green, we noticed a fragrance emanating from the area.

We turned in all directions but could not spot a flower or a tree from where that subtle scent might be emanating. The following days we passed by the same place again, but we could not smell anything.

After that, we went to the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Francis, in Assisi. We sat on a pew facing Saint Francis’s tomb. As soon as I sat down, I had the sensation that a kind of energy was telling me something: “Purify your heart, mind, body, and actions, and then you’ll see God inside you!”

What was Saint Francis telling me this time? He meant that the real kingdom of God is inside every living being, but we cannot find it if our mind is contaminated by too many materialistic desires or our actions are not directed towards the well-being of our fellow creatures. I also inferred that prayer and meditation are a good way to purify my mind and get close to God, as long as my actions aim not towards an egoistic goal but to the love of all creatures.

Were my contacts with St. Francis the fruit of hallucinations? I cannot know. I can just say that what I have written above is the truth!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)


In the year 1213, Count Orlando Catani of Chiusi came across Saint Francis of Assisi and was so fascinated by the figure of the saint that he wanted to give him something at any cost. The count wanted to give him money, but St. Francis could not accept because he had made a vow of poverty, so Count Orlando Catani gave him a mountain, an entire mountain! It was Mount Verna. St. Francis often went to meditate and pray in that mountain and it was there that he received the stigmata.

Something similar happened in Enna, Sicily, in 1758, when Baron Croce Felice Petroso bequeathed his entire fiefdom of Ramursura for the establishment of the College of Mary, an institution to be used for the education of the city’s youth. The Canossian Sisters came to the College of Mary, from Brescia, a city in northern Italy. They were highly educated and taught in many areas, including music, embroidery, and care for the deaf and dumb.

Today, the College of Mary is closed. What reminds me of the Canossian Sisters of the College of Mary is two small pictures that were given to my mother by a Sister with a passion for painting.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind