Nostra Signora della Misericordia/Our Lady of Mercy, Patron of Savona, Italy (1536) – 18 March:
About seven kilometers from the centre of Savona stands the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy, built following the apparition of the Virgin Mary to the farmer Antonio Botta, on 18 March 1536.
During the apparition, the Madonna dressed in white and wrapped in a dazzling light, told Antonio to go to his confessor and ask him to announce to the people, a fast for three Saturdays and a procession to the site where she appeared, to honour God and His Mother. She then asked him to return on the fourth Saturday.
On the fourth Saturday after the event, corresponding to 8 April 1536 and on the eve of Palm Sunday, Antonio Botta returned to the place of the apparition. There the Virgin appeared to him again, asking for three more fast Saturdays and a new procession of the people, especially the disciplinary Confraternities, praising their work and recommending that they announce to everyone, repentance of their vices and sins, to live the Creed and then she disappeared after saying: “Mercy, my son, not justice.”
This teaching of the Madonna was accepted with faith and dedication by the City of Savona, which was going through a difficult period, after the defeat suffered in 1528 by the Republic of Genoa.
Since then, on 18 March of each year, to commemorate the event of the apparition, a procession led by the Bishop is made, with the Confraternities of the Diocese and the faithful, departing from the Cathedral square of Savona and arriving at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy which was built to honour the apparitions to Antonio Botta.
The construction of the architectural complex of the Sanctuary was started in the same year in which the Marian apparition took place, i.e. in 1536. The whole today includes the Basilica with the square, the Pallavicino and Tursi palaces, the large late-sixteenth-century palace of the New Hospice and other buildings. The Basilica collects masterpieces by prestigious artists, such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Orazio Borgianni, Bernardo Castello, Domenichino and is also a very honoured place of worship.
Since the Confraternities are remembered and praised in the message to Blessed Botta, this place of worship was proclaimed National Shrine of the Confraternities of Italy, on March 18, 2009, by the Bishop of the Diocese of Savona-Noli.
Pope Pius VII was exiled to Savona by Napoleon from 1809-1812. During those years, he vowed that if he were released, he would crown the Statue of Our Lady of Mercy. The Pope was released and kept his promise, placing a royal diadem on the Statue on 10 May 1815.
St Cyril of Jerusalem (c 313-386) (Optional Memorial)
Father and Doctor of the Church
Bl Aimée-Adèle le Bouteiller
St Alexander of Jerusalem (Died 251) Bishop and Martyr
St Anselm of Lucca the Younger (1036-1086)
About this St Anselm:
St Braulio of Saragossa
Bl Celestine of the Mother of God
Bl Christian O’Conarchy
St Edward the Martyr
St Egbert of Ripon
St Eucarpius of Nicomedia
St Felix of Gerona
St Finan of Aberdeen
St Frigidian of Lucca
Bl John Thules
St Leobard of Tours
St Narcissus of Gerona
Bl Roger Wrenno
St Salvator of Horta
St Trophimus of Nicomedia
Martyrs of Nicomedia – Commemorates the Christians who were martyred anonymously, either singly and in small groups, by local pagans in the area of Nicomedia prior to the year 300 and who may have been over-looked in the waves of Diocletian persecutions that resulted in the deaths of thousands.