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Poggio Bustone
Rieti Valley, Italy

It was to this place that Francis came in the summer of 1208 following his very public renunciation of his father who was a leading businessman in Assisi. Francis needed direction: what was he to do now that he had his first followers? He left Assisi and went with his six companions to the Rieti Valley and climbed up to the village of Poggio Bustone.

Above the village, high on a rocky ledge Francis found two caves close to a Benedictine Monastery, far removed from the busy routine of daily life. He prayed there alone, fasting. The cave in which Francis prayed is called the Grotto of the Revelation. Here during his prayer, Francis was assured that his sins had been forgiven, and that his brethren, the Penitents of Assisi, would grow in number.