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16 St Francis Church and The Porziuncola

St Francis Church and The Porziuncola

St Francis Church and The Porziuncola
With North Beach being such an Italian neighborhood, it's not surprising they named the church here after Italy's patron saint, Saint Francis of Assisi. They built it back in 1849 originally from an adobe structure, and then later in the 1850s, they replaced it with the brick structure that we can see there today. This is actually North Beach's oldest surviving building. The interior of the church here was pretty much gutted in the fires that followed the Great Earthquake in 1906, but the structure survived pretty much intact. So if we looked at the outside today, it's more or less as it would have looked like in the 1850s, with the exception being that the brickwork was plastered over and painted white. Inside the building here, we have a recreation of the Porziuncola. The Porziuncola is a little chapel in Italy that's said to have been hand-built by Saint Francis of Assisi himself, stone by stone. The original was built by Saint Francis in the early 1200s, this one in here in the early 2000s. It's a very meticulous recreation, and if you walk inside and to the end, you'll see a little cage there containing a rock. That rock's from the original Porziuncola. It must have been handled by Saint Francis of Assisi himself. So here is the rock that Saint Francis of Assisi is said to have handled himself, still with the Pope’s seal of authentication on the top. It was an appropriate place to have a chapel dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi because of course, the city itself was named after him, San Francisco being the Spanish for Saint Francis.
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