For over seven centuries the 1 and 2 August, in Santa Maria degli Angeli, it is celebrated the Feast of Pardon, one of the highlights of the year for the entire community of Assisi. Visiting the Porziuncola in these two days, the pilgrims can receive the gift of the plenary indulgence, the forgiveness of all their sins.
Tradition says that one night in 1216, St. Francis, as he was praying in the little church of the Portiuncula, saw above the altar Christ and the Virgin Mary, surrounded by angels. That evening they asked him what he wanted for the souls of faithfuls. Francis asked, then, a broad and generous pardon, with a complete remission of all sins, to all those who, repented and confessed, was entering in the church.
This is the patronal title of the Blessed Virgin under which St. Francis placed the Order.
St. Francis had great devotion to Our Lady under this title due to his repairing of the little chapel of the “Portiuncula” (little portion) in the woods outside Assisi and becoming devoted to it as a place of prayer and meditation in which the earliest brothers gathered and St. Clare was first received into her vows, where St. Francis had a number of visions on Our Lady and the Angels and received the famous privilege of the “Pardon of Assisi” from the Pope, (a plenary indulgence that anyone may receive under the usual conditions in any church throughout the world in honour of Our Lady of the Angels.)Finally, it was at the Portiuncula also that Francis greeted Sister Death and passed to the Lord in the year 1226.