Nostra Signora di Oropa / Our Lady of Oropa, Piedmont, Italy (3rd Century) – 29 October:
This image, of cedar wood, six feet high, is in a Chapel which Saint Eusebius, Bishop of Vercelli (c 283-371), caused to be built. He often retired there during the troubles caused by the Arians.
The Sanctuary of the black Virgin of Oropa, high in the Alps north of Biella, is traditionally associated with Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, who died in 371 but the circumstances of the story are anachronistic. Yet the Shrine is certainly an old one, and throughout the Middle Ages was associated with a Community of Canon Regulars.
The vast range of buildings there today were begun by the Dukes of Savoy, early in the seventeenth century and form one of the most complete pilgrimage centres in the world (there is even a theatre). It is recorded that here in 1895, contemplating the space and beauty of the mountains, Marconi heard the first call to his life’s work.
The black cedar-wood Statue has been crowned four times, the last time in 1920 – the three superimposed diadems (the fourth is represented by a halo of twelve stars) can hardly be said to add to the beauty of the image.
Discovery of the Statue of Our Lady of Oropa at Jerusalem – Saint Eusebius who had been exiled to Syria because of his differences with the Arians, died in the year c 371. While in exile, the Emperor Constantine permitted him some freedom. Eusebius discovered among some ruins in Jerusalem three Statues of Our Lady. On his triumphant return after the Arians had been temporarily overthrown, he gave two of the Statues away . The third he kept for himself, placing it in a little hermitage at Oropa which he often visited.
In the 5th and 6th centuries when Arianism again reared its ugly head, the faithful Catholics took refuge at the Shrine of Our Lady of Oropa.
At one time it was decided to transport the Statue to another place. As the procession marched along, the Statue became so heavy that the men who carried it could not move on. Only when they decided to take Our Lady back to her original Shrine at Oropa were they able to move.
The last addition to the sanctuary was the Upper Basilica, a monumental Church built between 1885 and 1960 due to the large number of pilgrims visiting Oropa. It can hold 3000 people and its dome is 80 metres high.
In 1617, the complex of the Sacro Monte di Oropa (literally Sacred Mount of Oropa) was built not far from the Sanctuary. It is a devotional path now composed of twelve Chapels (plus another seven nearby) containing groups of Statues representing scenes from the story of the Virgin Mary’s life.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Oropa is a beautiful one and thousands of pilgrims today make their way there as they have done over the centuries.
The Holy See asked the authorities in 1856 to make a list of the miracles recorded at the Shrine. It is long and impressive. Then, as now, Our Lady of Oropa has a way with her Divine Son.
St Abraham Kidunaia (c 296-c 366) Priest, Hermit. The Vita of St Abraham was written by his friend, St Ephrem (306-373) Father and Doctor of the Church.
St Abraham of Rostov
St Achahildis of Wendelstein
St Anne of Mount Olympus
Blessed Chiara “Luce” Badano (1971 –1990) Laywoman, Died of cancer aged 18.
St Colman of Kilmacduagh
St Dodone of Wallers-en-Fagne
St Donatus of Corfu
St Ermelinda of Meldaert
St Eusebia of Bergamo
St Felician of Carthage
St Gaetano Errico (1791-1860) Priest, Founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1836, Teacher, Confessor, Apostle of Charity, Eucharistic Adorer.
St Honoratus of Vercelli
St John of Autun
St Mary of Edessa
St Narcissus of Gerona
St Narcissus of Jerusalem (c 99-c 215) Bishop of Jerusalem, miracle-worker.
St Sigolinus of Stavelot
St Stephen of Cajazzo
St Terence of Metz
St Theodore of Vienne
St Zenobius of Sidon
Martyrs of Douai – (160 saints and beati): 160 priests, laymen and religious who studied at the English College in Douai, France, then returned to minister to covert Catholics in England during a period of government persecution of the Church, and were murdered for their work.
Martyrs of Lucania – (4 saints): A group of Christians executed together for their faith. Only their names have survived – Felician, Hyacinth, Lucius and Quintus. Their martyrdom occurred in Lucania, southern Italy.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Arsenio Merino Miguel
• Blessed Benito Paradela Novoa
• Blessed Joaquina Rey Aguirre
• Blessed José Ruiz Bruixola
• Blessed Maurilio Tobar González
• Blessed Ponciano Nieto Asensio
• Blessed Victoria Arregui Guinea