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Our Inspiration

“While it was yet twilight, a figure appeared silently and suddenly on a little hill above the city, dark against the fading darkness. For it was the end of a long and stern night, a night of vigil, not unvisited by stars. He stood with his hands lifted, as in so many pictures and about him was a burst of birds singing; and behind him was the break of day……

……. From that cavern that was a furnace of glowing gratitude and humility, there came forth one of the strongest and strangest and most original personalities that human history had known…….

……To him a man was always a man and he did not disappear in a dense crowd any more than in a desert. He honored all men; that is, he not only loved but respected them all. What gave him his extraordinary personal power was that from Pope to beggar, from the Sultan of Syria in his pavilion to ragged robbers crawling out of the wood, there was never a man who looked into those brown burning eyes without being certain that Francis Bernardone was really interested in him; in his own inner individual life from the cradle to the grave; that he himself was being valued and taken seriously, and not merely added to the spoils of some social policy or the names in some clerical document. Now for this particular moral and religious idea there is no external expression except courtesy. Exhortation does not express it, for it is not mere abstract enthusiasm; beneficence does not express it for it is not mere pity. It can only be conveyed by a certain grand manner which may be called good manners. We may say, if we like, that St Francis, in the bare and barren simplicity of his life, had clung to one rag of luxury; the manners of a court. But whereas in a court, there is one king and a hundred courtiers, in this story there was one courtier, moving among a hundred kings. For he treated the whole mob of men as a mob of kings”

St Francis of Assisi, G.K. Chesterton

And so, it was a call to the soul that brought me to the sanctuary of San Damiano, hidden in the hills of Assisi in the picturesque Umbrian countryside. A simple place which speaks to one in a silence that you can listen to. For it was here that the figure of the crucified Christ called St Francis by name. It was also here where he composed this beautiful ode to nature;

The Canticle of the Creatures

Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honour,
and all blessing.

To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendour!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.

find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

I felt a burning need to bring back with me a memory of the sense of inner peace and joy I felt walking in the footsteps of St Francis in San Damiano. He had pierced my heart with a sense of love and compassion and transformed my mind to look for God’s beauty in everything that surrounded me. It was in an artist’s gallery in the cobble-stoned streets of Assisi that I caught sight of this painting of my beloved icon – the apotheosis of simplicity and humility that I so lacked and craved for in my life. I then engaged in an almost rapturous conversation with Paolo Grimaldi, the artist and a fervent admirer of the great saint or “Il Poverello” as he is fondly known by in those parts.

The dove represents the celestial hemisphere, the toad the terrestrial hemisphere – when it comes together, perfection is born. The flower St Francis is receiving is the symbol of perfection. The Latin inscription is “OMNIA”: which means “all together”. On the right is the Church of Santa Chiara with gold and jewels inside because at that time with the indulgence, the church was thinking more about money than its spiritual obligations. The snake is the symbol of temptation and water is the symbol of purity. Then there is the leper with the face of Leonardo Da Vinci. On the left of the painting there are rock faces, symbol of memory, while at the lower right corner the head of the Lamb.”

Paolo Grimaldi

As I contemplated this picture, the words of Cicero also echoed in my mind:

“Omnia rerum principia parva sunt.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Translated this means i.e. “The beginnings of all things are small.

Thus, Omnia Lifestyle Limited was born. The sentiment is the same, this is how we must see ourselves – humble beginnings where we must strive to bring everything together to achieve beauty, harmony and perfection in God’s unfolding Universe.

What would He have wanted us to do? What can we do? What should we do? And so, we decided to help those in pain in whatever shape or form it manifested itself. For some years, we had been looking after dying, sick and vulnerable people through our sister company, the San Damiano Corporation (http://www.sdcare.co.uk). These included residents in nursing care homes as well as those domiciled in their own homes.  One common theme in their life was pain both acute and chronic. While we did our best to make them comfortable, most of the options only offered fleeting or unsatisfactory relief. Our experience told us that any panacea to their suffering should offer a choice of pain relief therapies matched with specific pain management treatment involving a holistic approach incorporating lifestyle & fitness, nutrition and mental well-being.

Thus, Omnia Lifestyle Limited was born.

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