It was at the Porziuncola, St. Mary of the Angels, that the Franciscan story unfolded. Together with San Damiano there are no more important places in the original Franciscan story than these two. That is why it is so important to visit and return to these sanctuaries again and again. This is Francis’ heart; this is Francis’ center and the center of the entire Franciscan story. Why? Here Francis began his religious life, understanding his vocation and life direction through the hearing of the Gospel. Here his life and vocation developed. Here it ended when he died on October 3, 1226. Here Francis received the promise of the pardon (Il Perdono) from Jesus Christ through Mary. We know this as the Porziuncola Indulgence. When asked why he wanted this, he answered, “I want to send everyone to Paradise.” For these reasons the Porziuncola is the heart and center of Francis, the core of the Franciscan movement; it is the womb from which it grew. This is truly holy ground.
— from the book In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare
by Roch Niemier, OFM