The verb “resign” can be a loaded word.
The word can connote giving up or giving in. When a person is said to have resigned themselves to a situation, it often implies waving a white flag to something beyond their control or their liking.
Then, there is choosing to resign when a person realizes something isn’t working for them, or when they’ve explored a path and gracefully backed out and said, “No, thank you.”
Enter Pope Celestine V
I knew nothing about the man who was chosen as Pope during the 13th century and during the last non-conclave choosing of the Holy Father—that is until I visited L’Aquila with my dear friends Novelia and Peppe. I had, just the day before, visited Celestine’s remote hermitage in the Morrone mountains and seen the small, cramped cell where he had slept. In L’Aquila, I saw Santa Maria di Collemaggio, the inspiring basilica born of his dream. There, I learned the fuller story of the first Pope to resign.