About the La Porziuncola and Renaissance Project

The Renaissance Project is an inspired plan to bring the Shrine to its true potential, in four phases:
The Porziuncola, The Piazza, Preservation and Programs

The Shrine will become an international symbol for "peace and good" — in the words of Saint Francis, "pax et bonum."

The renewed National Shrine will be one of the world's sanctuaries — a place to rest, think, meditate, and pray — a spiritual destination attracting thousands who want to follow in the footsteps of Saint Francis and share in his legacy.


La Porziuncola Piazza Saint Francis - The Poet's Plaza

The exciting Renaissance Project has recreated the little church that Saint Francis himself rebuilt. He named this little church the "Porziuncola", meaning "little corner of the world", that is, his "portion."

The Creation of the
Nuova Porziuncola San Francisco

It was here that Saint Francis began to understand his vocation to follow the Gospel and give up all worldly goods, pray for and advocate peace, and of course, take care of the poor and sick. The Porziuncola is also the place where he founded the Franciscan Order of the Friars Minor in 1209, "establishing here his home".

Saint Bonaventure tells us that, "because of his reverence for the angels, and of his great love of the Mother of Christ," Saint Francis dedicated the Porziuncola to her. Saint Francis felt that by rebuilding the little chapel, Mary would be honored. He described the Porziuncola as a source of his inspiration in his adoration of God. The Porziuncola remains today an inspiration to us all because of what it meant to Saint Francis. It keeps his message of peace and love alive and loud in today's world.

In 1216, Jesus appeared to Saint Francis in a vision and granted his request that all who entered the Porziuncola be pardoned. The Porziuncola continues to be one of the rare Holy Places in the world!

The first phase of the Renaissance Project has been to replicate the Porziuncola in San Francisco's North Beach. It is adjacent to the main church at the National Shrine of Saint Francis for all to see, visit and pray in this sacred place of contemplation and prayer, and to feel the energy of the spirit of Saint Francis.

“Piazza Saint Francis, The Poets Plaza” (a non-profit) will be an oasis for San Franciscans and a national site for lovers of poetry, music and art just as the Piazzas in Italy. The Piazza will be italian green and white granite, several Olive trees ,tables and chairs to enjoy a cappuccino, a true Umbrian Piazza.

Quotations from some 40 great poets and peacemakers from around the world will be incised in the paving of the Piazza. Inspired by the lovely piazzas of Italy, the Piazza will be free of all traffic, it will be an essential link between the neighborhoods and major thoroughfare. On the 600 block of vallejo Street between Grant Avenue and Columbus Avenues,it is the site of the landmark National Shrine of Saint Francis, Porziuncola Nuova and Caffe Trieste, historic San Franciscan gathering places.

“Piazza Saint Francis, The Poets Plaza” is a civic project created by neighborhood volunteers,and donations. The Chinatown Community Development Center, North Beach Merchants Association, Telegraph Hill Dwellers, North Beach Citizens, and hundreds of local residents have already offered their qualified support of the project. The Mayor and his office, City Planning Department and a diverse group of the san francisco Board of Superviors have been and are very enthusiastic about the concept.

The total cost of installation will be close to 2.4 million dollars. We are hoping that anyone interested in working with us, and especially potential donors, will please contact us here.



Text of the entire document.

“Every feature of the Porziuncola lifts the heart and mind to God”


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Franciscan Relic of a Rock used by Saint Francis himself to rebuild the Porziuncola in Assisi. It symbolizes global peace,
love for the environment, love for the sick and the poor, and, of course, love for all animals. It was given to the
San Francisco Porziuncola as it’s cornerstone in April, 2008, by the Friars in Assisi.

"Francis, rebuild my Church which you see, is falling down"


Saint Francis Searches for His Role in Life

Saint Francis of Assisi was born in 1182, the only son of Pietro Bernardone, a wealthy cloth merchant of central Italy. Peitro gave his son the name of Giovanni at baptism, though he afterwards altered his son’s name to Francesco, perhaps in honor of his trading in France. Pietro’s worldly success had secured for the young Francis a care-free life of material comfort. Francis was a popular youth, often the center of attention, who could be found engaged in sport, frequenting the piazze of the city, or confidently serenading the young women of Assisi.

Francis eagerly sought the glory and honor of battle and in 1201, at the age of 19, outfitted himself as a knight in order to join the war with Assisi’s rival, Perugia. After an abrupt defeat, however, Francis spent nearly a year as a prisoner of the neighboring city-state while his father raised the money in 1203 to pay his ransom.

Though he turned frequently to the Sacred Scriptures for comfort, imprisonment and illness had shattered his self-assurance. Moreover, instead of reassuring him, the Gospel challenged Francis with the still unfamiliar values of Christian discipleship.

In 1205 he again tried to outfit himself as a knight, but after suffering another illness, he had a vision that marked the beginning of his conversion. He was 23 years old.

Uncertain and pensive, he returned to Assisi where his initial depression soon became an emotional crisis.His old way of life and his old friends left him feeling disillusioned and empty.

His evident dissatisfaction with the material comforts of his life frustrated his father, particularly as Francis spontaneously began to share his family’s wealth with the poor.

Indeed, the lack of understanding between the two provoked harsh, angry words from the father and a sullen, hostile silence from the son. Pietro failed to recognize the turmoil in his son; Francis could not express himself to his father.

Born of a crisis of human understanding, his search for inner peace and new direction put Francis on the road to conversion.