The Franciscan order hopes to raise $125 000 to restore a convent in Rome which was the home of St. Francis of Assisi. They have created a Kickstarter campaign to ask for donations from the public.
The church of San Francesco a Ripa in the Trastevere quarter of Rome dates back to the twelfth century. When St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscans, visited the city between 1209 and 1223, he stayed in a small Benedictine convent next to the church. After his death the Papacy granted the convent to the Franciscans.
The small room that St.Francis lived in is a popular pilgrimage site, gaining renewed interest with the pontificate of Pope Francis.
Brother Stefano Tamburo is leading the Kickstarter campaign, which so far has raised close to $5000. He tells the Associated Press “It seemed important to us, very Franciscan even, to say that today perhaps public money should be destined to more urgent things, more important things like social issues that are affecting Italy and Europe at large. So like the friars in the past would go asking for a piece of bread, today we are going to ask for a dollar, a euro, so we can make this place as it was in the time of St. Francis.”
If the campaign meets their goal, the Franciscans will be able “to restore the entire Cell: the walls, the ceiling and the wooden floor; the frescoes and decorations as well as the portrait of St. Francis (13th century tempera painting); the stone-pillow upon which St. Francis laid his head while he rested; a new electrical system; new overhead projectors and a new ventilation system. Furthermore, we will create a virtual Cell to allow its visits even during the closing for restoration.” Any further donations will allow restoration work on other parts of the building as well.