Madonna della Fontenuova / Our Lady of the Plain , Monsummano Terme, Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy, 1573 – 9 June
In the year 500, in the area where now stands the Church, there were only swamps, forests and meadows, an area used only by shepherds on the slopes of Monsummano Alto, with streets that wind their way through marshes and grassy fields., a place unlikely for a town to develop.
But what nature seems to deny was achieved, by a sudden and unexpected intervention of Our Lady. On 9 June 1573, in fact, Jacopina Mariotti, a shepherdess sweet and mild, as well as pious, simple and modest, prayed in front of one of the many pictures painted in fresco on the wall,s that dot the streets of the plan. After the prayer, she realised that she had lost her flock. Her crying moved the Virgin Mary who, according to a documented records, appearing to Jacopinam and showed her where her flock had wandered.
In addition, the Blessed Mother asked Jacopina to go to the Priest of the Church of the Castle, to sask him to build a Church in her honour on the spot where she had appeared. Devotion to Our Lady of the Plain grew with great fervour and faith. Just two months after the first event, local authorities, agreeing with the will of the people to build a Chapel to Our Lady of the Plain and allocated for this purpose, the many offerings of pilgrims from all over the Valdinievole area.
Another appearance, this time more crucial and decisive for the erection of the Shrine and the Marian movement resulting therefrom, occurred on10 June 1602 and was witnessed by the Priest of Monsummano, Alto Simone Casciani. On 7 July of the same year, during the celebration of the Mass, aftera long drought, the rain began to pour with abundance. The people attributed this long needed rain to their novena to Our Lady of the Plain. .
From that day, the Madonna del Piano was called: Our Lady of Fontenova. The explosion of devotion to Mary, already significant after the events of 9 June 1573, became even greater, requiring the intervention of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando I de ‘Medici. He ordered that the building work of the Marian Shrine proceed with speed, the first stone was laid 30 December 1602. On 13 February 1607 the Grand Duke of Tuscany approved the project for the construction of the Hostel for pilgrims to be administered by the Sanctuary.
On 8 June 1608 Cosimo de ‘Medici in fulfillment of a vow made by his father Ferdinand, crowned the Blessed Mother in a precious and costly diadem, finely crafted and carved. Experts consider it the best and most intricate example of the art of the period. This Crown was placed on the head of the Virgin Mary by the Vatican Chapter in 1782. (Apologies for this Italia translation).
St Ephrem of Syria – (Optional Memorial) “The Harp of the Holy Spirit!” Father & Doctor of the Church, Deacon and Confessor, Exegesist, Writer, Poet, Hymnographer, Theologian, Teacher, Orator, Defender of the Faith – declared Doctor of the Church in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.
About St Ephrem!
Bl Alexander of Kouchta
St Alexander of Prusa
Blessed Anna Maria Taigi O.SS.T. (1769-1837) Religious of the Secular Trinitarians, Married laywoma, Mystic
St Arnulf of Velseca
St Baithen of Iona
St Columba of Iona (521-597) Apostle of the Picts, Apostle to Scotland, Abbot, Missionary, Evangelist, Poet, Scholar and Writer .
He should not be confused with St Columban/us (543-615) – see here:
St Comus of Scotland
St Cumian of Bobbio
Bl Diana d’Andalo
St Diomedes of Tarsus
Bl Henry the Shoemaker
St Jose de Anchieta
Bl Joseph Imbert
St Julian of Mesopotamia
St Luciano Verdejo Acuña
Bl Luigi Boccardo
St Maximian of Syracuse
St Pelagia of Antioch
St Richard of Andria
Bl Robert Salt
Bl Sylvester Ventura
St Valerius of Milan
St Vincent of Agen
Martyrs of Arbil – 5 saints: Five nuns who were martyred together in the persecutions of Tamsabur for refusing to renounce Christianity for sun-worship – Amai, Mariamne, Martha, Mary and Tecla. They were beheaded on 31 May 347 at Arbil, Assyria (in modern Kurdistan, Iraq).