Historical walk through the convent of St. Francis Vico.

It is in 1481 that the Sieur Giovan Paolo de Leca obtains from Pope Sixtus IV a brief allowing him "to raise a convent to the place which he will judge good". After consultation with many religious and lay experts, the locality Paratella is chosen 500 meters east of Nesa and separated from vico by the tributary of Liamone called "Bocadelle"; the sages estimate it at 325 ecus, of which 200 seem to be the part paid by Giovan Paolo de Leca.
As long as he was a powerful lord, he protected the convent he helped to found. He is credited with the gift of the great Christ in polychrome wood called "u Francicone" still venerated today. When from 1486 his relations with Genoa deteriorate the convent is forced to seek survival in gardening, arboriculture and livestock.
Originally the convent built in support of a small chapel dedicated to St. Anthony consists only of small buildings identical to those of the most humble inhabitants of the region and almost 2 centuries later in 1671, a chronicler of the Franciscan province of Corsica writes that "the cells are low and cramped, their soil is in clay, ... real mirrors of poverty! "

During the apostolic visit of Mgr Mascardi in 1589, several dysfunctions were noted involving the holding of the conventual church but also the attitude of the community with little rigor in the respect of the rule and apostolic obligations but force is to note that this community is much more rigorous than the secular clergy (the priest of the Procathedral Saint Marie de Vico lives in notorious concubinage near the church!)
All of this nearly caused the Franciscans who were observant to be replaced by the Reformed who marked the renewal of the order.
The determined reaction of the people of Vico and the region who mobilized to defend the convent community by addressing Rome, no doubt helped to bring about its development; indeed during the 17th century will be built a building wing supported perpendicularly to the church. The old convent was destroyed in 1627 and reconstruction began, it will be completed in 1710 and the convent church which is enriched with a vault above the choir, a steeple garnished with 2 bells operable by the inside, a sacristy with access to a choir organ stand and two side chapels. All these works, carried out as and when financial resources became available, did not interrupt the liturgical service. During the 18th century, the part perpendicular to the wing of the 17th century is made, all forming a "U". Lastly, developments take place in the 19th and 20th centuries:
The "Calvaire" 1878/79 is an altar with altarpiece that was used for large gatherings of the faithful when the church was too small.
Christ is represented surrounded by the Virgin and St John. The plan is conceived by an Oblate Father of the time and performed by the brother of another Father.
The porch bell tower built in 1889 is surmounted by a statue of the Virgin offered by the Bishop of Nice who was an Oblate, Msgr Balain.
The "Albini" room built in the 1990s allows catechesis gatherings or cultural events (conferences, training, music); Positioned perpendicularly to the sheds created for agricultural activities and now used as garages for vehicles, it allows to close the inner courtyard.
When we enter the church, we can discover a statue of St Anthony of the 17th century, only ancient statue that has reached us. It is due to the ancient devotion of the Corsicans to St Anthony encouraged by the Franciscans; no doubt thanks to Fra Giovanni Parente, Corsican, who attended the canonization of St. Anthony in 1230.
On the right you can see the tombs and "Arca". The Casanelli family of Istria, benefactors since 1835, buried several of its members in the church while, under the church, there is the "arca" which is the grave where the dead were deposited formerly; it served for the populations of the Vicolais, Nesa, Arbori, Létia, Renno, Appricciani, Evisa. In the modern era, was created the tomb of Father Albini, an apostle of Corsica who died in 1839 and declared venerable in 1968. He rests in the chapel dedicated to Bishop de Mazenod, founder of the OMI, canonized by Saint John Paul II .
Then we bow to the "Francescone", a large Christ in polychrome wood from the end of the 15th century. He is one of the greatest in Corsica! 1m85x1m85 the fineness of the details is remarkable. It was carried in procession especially to bring the rain in times of great drought.
In the choir, the tabernacle 1698 is in marble marquetry. The four evangelists are represented in the niches, surmounted by shells: John (the eagle); Marc (the lion); Matthew (the angel) and Luke (the bull).

Behind the choir, there are stalls (late 17th century) in chestnut wood. There are 20 seats including 10 with armrests and 10 on a simple bench, they served as a place of prayer. Behind the choir we pass into the sacristy, where we discover a Chasublier dating from 1664. Realized on site by a Franciscan cabinetmaker from Corte, called Paolo Bonagiunta it is designed for the priestly ornaments and objects of worship necessary for 7 priests; in the shield the arms of the Franciscans.The Prie-Dieu also dating from the 17th century, is intended for priests preparing to say Mass; under the icon, recent, old prayers are preserved.The 17th century white marble sacristy fountain (central part of Carrara marble added) was used to wash hands before celebrating Mass. the sacristy and rear choir, we take the ground floor gallery built in the 17th century and the 18th century to the reception room richly decorated. This room was arranged by Monsignor Casanelli d'Istria in the first half of the 19th century for his annual stay at the convent in August; his portrait was originally in his adjoining room in the reception room; we can discover some fragments of wall decorations of the same type.

If we take the grand staircase we can reach the cell of Father Albini transformed into a private chapel of the Oblate fathers. It is indeed in this room that he died in the odor of sanctity at the age of 49; he was exhausted by a life of missionary activity, he could not resist a disease that has almost disappeared today, typhus.At this floor you must visit the Library which still retains many books some of which are of real interest historical, artistic and spiritual. In the 18th century the convent became a training center and it has several hundred books of all kinds canon law, civil law, theology ... and even incunabula (books written by hand before the invention of printing) that enriched the Fesch library in Ajaccio.The convent was requisitioned by the state as national property during the Revolution but thanks to the help of the population the Franciscan monks remained until the last in 1826; they rented their old convent! Then the state put it on sale again; Bishop Casanelli de Vico Bishop of Ajaccio bought it to receive the Oblates in 1835; in 1905, after the law of separation of church and state, they had to leave the convent for 30 years and then settled there without interruption until today!