Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/883

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ASSISI
ASSISI
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food is incorporated into the living tissue and the manner in which truth is acquired by the growing mind. That education means the assimilation of truth is almost a commonplace in modern pedagogy. Few, however, have felt the full force of the com- parison or realized how completely the psychological m this as in other instances follows on the lines of the physiological. Just as the living cell cannot dele- gate the task of iissiniilation, so the mind cannot by any contrivance of educational methods evade the task of performing the assimilative proce.-is for it.-ielf. . that the teacher can do is to prepare the material and to stimulate the mind of the pupil; the pupil himself must perforin the final act of acquiring knowledge, namely the act of incorporating into his mind the truth presented to him. In the second place, the mind cannot take over into its own suli- stance a complex truth as such. The truth must hrst be broken up into less complex component parts, which are assimilable by the mmd in its present con- dition of development. I'here is little profit, for example, in placing before the pupil a finished essay, unless the pupil is taught to 'analyze the finished literary product into its con- stituent elements, and to reconstruct those elements into a living whole. This, of course, implies much more than the t;isk of summarizing each paragraph and labelling it more or less happily. When the term assimilation is use<l with reference to mental development, it is well to remember that, while it originally referred to the building up of anatomical elements, the.se elements, once constructed, have an immediate physiological bearing. Each particle of matter that is lifted into the living tissue acquires thereby a functional unity, that is, it is brought into functional relation with everj' other particle of the organism. Similarly, a truth once incorporated into the mind sheiLs it-s light on the entire mental content, and is in turn illumined by every previoiLsly assimi- lated truth. Acting on these principles, the up-to- datx- educationist insists: first, that each new truth should Ije not only an addition to the stock of knowl- edge of the pupil, but also a functional acquisition, something that stimulates the pupil's mind to in- crease<l activity; secondly, that in every educational endeavour the centre of orientation should be shifted from the logical centre of the body of truth to be imparted to the present needs and capacities of the growing mind. FortTKR, Melu-(U Dictionary/: Richet, Dictionnaire phyt- ioLvgiquc: Gactikr, Chimie physiotofjiouf . THOMAS Edward Shields.

Assist, The Diocese ok, is in the civil province of I'mbria, Italy. The town of .s.sisi (.4s.si.'{ii/in), which takes its name from Mount .si, on which it is situated, lies almost in the centre of the province of I'mbria. about halfway between the cities of Perugia and Foligno. and forty-one miles north of Rome. The be- ginnings of ..ssisian history are involved in much ob- scurity; but in early imperial times it had become a flourishing municipality of no mean importance, and lays claim, with some show of truth, to being the birth- place of the Latin poet Sextus .urelius Propertius. The (iospel w;us first preached to the A.ssisians about the middle of the third century by St. Cyspohtus, Hishop of Hcttona (ancient Vcttona), who suffered martyrdom under the Kmpcror Maximian. About 2'.ir> iit. Kufinus was appointed Hishoji of Assisi by Pope St. Fabian; suffered martyrdom about '236; and was succeeded by St. Victorinus. Both St. Victorinus and his immediate successor. St. Sabinus. died martyrs, the latter being most cruelly beaten to death. Of the bishops who occupied the See of Assisi during the fifth and sixth centuries, one, .Aventius, is worthy of mention. It was this heroic prelate who interceded (.■>4.')) with Totila in behalf of the Assi.sians, and saved the city from the ravages of the Ostrogothic army on its way to Rome. In succeeding centuries mention is made of several Bishops of .ssisi who weri- present at general councils of the Church. Thus, in 0.59, Aquilinus was sum- inoneil l>y Pope Martin I to be present at the Lateran Coimcil, convened for the purpose of formulating decrees against the Monothelites. In the seventh and eighth centuries As.sisi fell under the power of the Lombard dukes, and in 773 wsis razed to the gn)und by Charlemagne for its determined resistance to him. He restored it, however, and at the same time all traces of Arian belief and Lombard sympa- thies disappeared. About the same time the great castle, or Kocca d'A.ssisi, was built, which stronghold made the town thenceforth a great power in the pohtical life of central Italy. Bishop Hugo, whose episcopate lasted from 1030 to 10.30, transferred the ey)iscopal chair to the cathedral of San Rufino, which he himself raised over the little oratory be- neath which the Saint's bones had rested for eight centuries. From St. Rufinus to the present incum- bent of the See of A.ssi.si, the Right Reverend .Monsig- nor Ambrose Luddi. O.P.. the bishops of that see have numbered some ninety-two; but of these some arc little known, and the existence of others is more or less problematical. A.ssisi is chiefly famous as the birthplace of St. Francis. All the places sanctified by his presence have been preserved in their original state or transformed into sanctuaries. Foremost among these is the ba.silica of Our Lady of Angels, erected on the model of St. Peter's at Rome through the beneficence of Pope St. Pius '. which shelters the famous little chapel of the Porziuncula, the cradle of the Franciscan Order, where St. Francis received the great Fcnlono il' Assisi, more commonly known as the Portiuncula Indulgence. Within this basilica also stands the tiny cell in which St. Francis died, and which contains among other things the well- known statue by Luca della Robbia made after the Saint's death mask. St. I'rancis's remains now repo.se in the patriarchal basilica of San Francesco, erecteil through the exertions of Brother F.lias, the first .stone of which was laid by dregory IX, 25 July, rJ28. Consecrated by Innocent I', this church is composed of three .sanctuaries, one over the other, and is one of the earliest specimens of Gothic archi- tecture in Italy. "There is nothing like it", says Taine. " Before seeing it one has no idea of the art and genius of the Middle Ages." It is difficult to overestimate the stimulus given to Italian art by the building of this great double basilica, in the decora- tion of which the foremost painters of the day were engaged, including CiinaViue and Giotto, whose famous mystical frescoes, illustrative of the vows of poverty, chastity, and obethence, adorn the lower church. The recent revival of widespread interest in all that concerns St. Francis has made Assisi the goal of a new race of literary and artistic pilgrims. The splendours and a.s.sociations of the ba.silicas of San Francesco and Santa Maria degli .-Vngt^li tend to overshadow the other churches of Assisi. The cathedral of San Rufino. mentione<l above, which dates from IHU, is noted foi its beautiful facade and po.sses.ses a font (the only one in .X.ssisi) in which not only St. Francis and St. Clare, but the Emperor Frederick 11 was baptized. The Chie.sa Nuova, a Greek cross, surmounted by five cupolas and standing on the .site of St. Francis's parental house, was built at the expense of Philip 111 of Spain, in 1615. Santa Chiara, a splenilid Gothic church of the thirteenth century, due to the genius of Filippo di Campello, contains the remains of St. Clare, the co-foundress with St. Francis of the Poor Ladies, or Clares, as they are now called, and daughter of Count Favorino Scifi. an .ssisian noble. The convent of St. Damian's. in which the holy abbess lived, stands without the city and is little changed since her day.