Madonna delle Lacrime / Madonna of the Tears, Ponte Nossa, Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy , 1511 – 2 June:

Madonna delle Lacrime / Madonna of the Tears, Ponte Nossa, Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy , 1511 – 2 June:

In the territory of Ponte Nossa known as Campo Lungo there was a small Oratory dedicated to the Seven Martyr Brothers and the Madonna which had a fresco on the facade by Giacomo Borlone de Buschis depicting the Crucifixion with the Madonna and St John.

On 2 June 1511 , some shepherdesses of the town staring at the picture, saw Mary’s face change, open and close her left eye until tears of blood appeared o her cheek. Among them was a girl from the Bonelli de Ferrari family, who wiped away her tears with her apron. The Virgin said:

“To the first who will pass this way, you will make my apparition kown and you will report that the Blessed Virgin told you so, who she orders that a Church be built in her honour where she will give many graces.”

The young women made the miracle public and showed the blood left on the young woman’s apron as a testimony. Tradition tells of other miraculous facts, such as the story of a soldier who mocked the young girls by questioning what they had reported and who whe he remounted his horse, suddenly found himself blind and his horse too, struck by the ‘wrath of God.’ The punishment made him repent and asking forgiveness from God and the Madonna, he regained the gift of sight. The testimony of the miracle and what happened after, were then collected by the notary Guerinoni of Gorno and put in writing. The construction of the new Church had the authorisation to begin construction as early as 10 June of the same year.

The building was finished in 1533, was built in Lombard Romanesque style next to the existing Church. It was Consecrated with the rite of dedication to Santa Maria Annunziata on 19 April 1575 by the co-adjutor of theBbishop Federico Corner and elevated to Parish in 1583. The miraculous fresco was inserted as a side Altarpiece . The previous church was then demolished in 1716 in order to make room for the new sacristy of the complex.

Although  the exterior of the Sanctuary appears austere, the interior is full of treasures and frescoes. The frescoe below depicts the blinded soldier begging forgiveness. The Altar of the Madonna delle Lacrime (Our Lady of Tears) was embellished in the seventeenth century with small twisted alabaster columns accompanied by a plague in memory of the graces received and a special prayer to the Virgin.

Hanging from the ceiling of the nave, on the right side, in front of the Altar of the Virgin there is a crocodile. There is no written documentation referring to the true reason for the presence of a crocodile inside the Church. The first citation of it presence is deducible from a document dated 24 January 1594 by Bishop Federico Corner who asked for its immediate removal: “In the Church of the Madonna’s oratory, remove that crocodile skin under the roof, for it is indecent .” This order, however, was eluded by the then Parish Priest, Don Celso Lotteri, who declared – “It would be a huge mistake to remove it because, if on one hand, the skin of a sea monster is indecent in a sacred place, on the other hand, it is a real display of a miracle and a very material votive proving a true miracle and grace obtained through the invocation of Santa Maria dei Campi by some villagers who were miraculously preserved from the jaws of that voracious monster.”

The testimony of this miracle remains only oral, handed down by the faithful. It would seem, that in Rimini a merchant who was travelling to sell his wares, found himself facing a ferocious crocodile. He entrusted his prayers to the Madonna di Campolungo and thus, managed to hit the monster in the throat, killing it (as shown in the third fresco on the right wall in the upper part.) However, it appears, that there are many legends about the crocodile and although they differ slightly in detail, the main focus always remains the same, the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

In the 19th century, the figure of Mary was solemnly crowned with a diadem of gold and precious jewels. An annual procssion is held each year in honour of Our Lady of Tears.

St Marcellinus (Optional Memorial)Priest Martyr
St Peter the Exorcist (Optional Memorial) Exorcist Martyr
(Martyred in 304)
Their Blessed Lives and Deaths:

St Ada of Ethiopia
St Adalgis of Thiérarche

Blessed Alexandru Rusu (1884-1963) Bishop and Martyr of the Soviet Regime, Professor, Activist.
His Life and Martyrdom:

St Armin of Egypt
St Barbarinus
St Blandina the Slave
St Bodfan of Wales
St Daminh Ninh
Bl Demetrios of Philadelphia
St Dorotheus of Rome

St Erasmus (Died c 303) Martyr – also known as Saint Elmo – Bishop of Formiae, Campagna, Italy. St Erasmus or Elmo is also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and the Saint from whom comes the famous miracle of “Saint Elmo’s fire.”
His Holy Life and Death:

St Pope Eugene I,
St Evasius
Bl Giovanni de Barthulono
Bl Guy of Acqui
St Honorata
St Humatus
St John de Ortega
St Joseph Tien
St Nicholas Peregrinus the Pilgrim (1075-1094) Confessor
St Photinus of Lyons
St Rogate
Bl Sadoc of Sandomierz
St Stephen of Sweden

Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne: A group of 48 Christians from the areas of Vienne and Lyon, France, who were attacked by a pagan mob, arrested and tried for their faith, and murdered in the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius. A letter describing their fate, possibly written by Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, was sent to the churches in the Middle East. Only a few names and details of their lives have survived; some of them have separate entries on this date –
• Alexander of Vienne
• Attalus of Pergamos
• Biblis of Lyons
• Blandina the Slave
• Cominus of Lugdunum
• Epagathus of Lugdunum
• Maturus the Novice
• Photinus of Lyons
• Ponticus of Lugdunum
• Sanctius of Vienne
• Vettius of Lugdunum
They were martyred in assorted ways on on various during 177.

Martyrs of Sandomierz: A group of 49 Dominicans, some of whom received the habit from Saint Dominic de Guzman himself. They worked separately and together to bring the faith and establish the Dominican Order in Poland, basing their operations in and around Sandomierz. In 1260 they were all martyred by the Tartars as they were singing the Salve Regina at Compline; the custom of singing the Salve Regina at the deathbed of Dominicans stems from this incident. We know a few details about a few of the martyrs, but most survive only as names –
• Zadok• Andrea, chaplain• James, novice master• Malachi, convent preacher
• Paul, vicar• Peter, guardian of the garden• Simone, penitentiaryfriars
• Abel, Barnabas, Bartholomew, Clemente, Elia, John, Luke, Matthew, Philip
deacons• Giuseppe, Joachim, Stefanosub-deacons• Abraham, Basil, Moses, Taddeoclerics• Aaron, Benedict, David, Dominico, Mattia, Mauro, Michele, Onofrio, Timothyprofessed students• Christopher, Donato, Feliciano, Gervasio, Gordian, John, Mark, Medardo, Valentinonovices• Daniele, Isaiah, Macario, Raffaele, Tobialay brothers• Cyril, tailor• Jeremiah, shoemaker
• Thomas, organist
They were martyred in 1260 at Sandomierz, Poland and Beatified on 18 October 1807 by Pope Pius VII (cultus confirmation).

Posted in QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, THOMAS a KEMPIS, Uncategorized

Saint of the Day – 2 June – St Erasmus (Died c 303) Martyr

Saint of the Day – 2 June – St Erasmus (Died c 303) Martyr – also known as Saint Elmo (Telmo, Eramo, Erarmo, Ermo, Herasmus, Rasimus, Rasmus), Bishop of Formiae, Campagna, Italy.   St Erasmus or Elmo is also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, saintly figures of Christian tradition who were venerated especially as intercessors.   Patronages – against appendicitis, against birth pains, against abdominal or stomach pains and diseases, against colic, against danger at sea, against seasickness, against storms, ammunition, explosives and ordnance workers, boatmen, mariners, sailors, watermen, childbirth and women in labour, navigators, Gaeta, Italy, Formia, cattle pest, Fort St Elmo, Malta.erasmus

As with many Martyrs of the early Church, we know little about their lives and upbringings but much about their pious and courageous deaths, accounts of which were recorded and believed to be more instructive to the faithful than complete biographies.


The childhood and birthplace of Saint Erasmus is lost to history.   In the late third century, we do know that he was appointed Bishop of Antioch in Asia Minor, where he led the faithful.   When Emperor Diocletian ascended to the throne, widespread persecution of Christians began and Antioch was not overlooked.   Saint Erasmus fled into the mountains of Lebanon, where he undertook an austere life of prayer and fasting, going without food for days at a time.   Holy legend tells us that a raven brought him food when he deprived himself for too long.   Eventually, however, he was discovered by the soldiers of the Emperor and dragged to judgement.

St Erasmus was urged to recant his faith and some respect was offered him.   However, when he adamantly stated his belief in Christ and could not be persuaded to make offerings to the gods.   He stated, “Almighty God, that made all things, hath wrought heaven and hell and all that is therein, Him will I not forsake for nothing that can or may be done to me, for His goodly grace hath given to me such grace and to other of His chosen friends, that He was made man and hath tasted and suffered the bitter death for me and for all sinners.”   Saint Erasmus was viciously tortured.   He was at first scourged, had heated hooks jabbed into his intestines and stomach and was finally thrown into a caldron filled with boiling oil.   However, despite these horrific tortures, the Lord protected Saint Erasmus from death and many were converted to the faith—including the jailor and his family.

Unable to torture him physically into recanting his faith, the judge ordered him imprisoned in chains, thrown into a pit filled with vipers and worms and forbid the jailor to feed him, insisting that he die of starvation for his crime.   However, Erasmus was again delivered, with an angel appearing to him and leading him to freedom.  During his escape, the angel proclaimed, Erasmus, Follow me! Thou shalt convert a great many.”erasmus2


Erasmus fled to Europe, preaching the power of the Lord, performing miracles and converting the multitudes proclaimed by the Angel.   Upon his arrival in Italy, however, he was again arrested—this time by Emperor Maximin, who also persecuted Christians. History tells us that the Emperor, enraged by Erasmus’ success in conversions, ordered three hundred of the newly baptised Christians killed as incentive for Erasmus to recant his faith.   When he did not, he was cruelly tortured and again imprisoned.   During this torture, his intestines were slowly wound around a sailor’s capstan, which is why he is the Patron Saint of sailors today.   Eventually, Saint Erasmus died a Martyr’s death due to disembowelling and subsequent beheading, having been summoned by the voice of the Lord.

From the Golden Legend:  “And when the hour was come that this holy Bishop and Martyr of God should depart out of this world, then was heard a loud voice perfectly, coming from heaven saying:  “Erasmus, my true servant, thou hast done me true service, wherefore come with me and go and enter into the bliss and joy of thy Lord and I promise thee and all people that think upon thy great pain and call upon thy holy name and worship every Sunday, what that they ask of Me in thy name for the wealth of their souls, I shall grant it.   Now come, my true and chosen friend, be glad and comforted with Mine ascension  . I will that thou arise with Me and come sit upon the right hand of My Father.” Then was this holy man right glad and joyful and he cast his eyes upward to heaven, with lifting up his hands and there he saw, a clear shining crown come from heaven upon his blessed head.   Then gave he loving and thanking to Almighty God with bowing his head and kneeling and both his hands upward to heaven, and meekly said:  “O Lord in thy hands yield my spirit and this Sunday receive my soul into thy peace and rest.”   And with saying these words he yielded up his ghost, which was seen by many men’s eyes, shining clearer than the sun and how that he was received of the holy Angels and was led through the height of heaven into the uppermost plan of heaven – there he standeth with God, with all the holy company and is there a true helper to all them that call truly to Saint Erasmus for ghostly health, which joy and ghostly health let us pray, that he for us, all of our Lord God may obtain.”

Saint Erasmus is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, a group of saints invoked with special confidence because they have proven themselves efficacious helpers in adversity and difficulties  . Other saints identified as Holy Helpers are: Saints Blaise, Catherine of Alexandria, George, Christopher and others.   Saint Erasmus, due to the manner in which he was tortured, is the Patron Saint of those with stomach or intestinal disorders.

A little more about the 14 Holy Helpers and a prayer to them by St Alphonsus Liguori here:

Saint Erasmus, under the name Saint Elmo, is also the patron saint of sailors and the shining lights observed upon his death, continue to be reported by sailors as “Saint Elmo’s fire.”   This electrostatic phenomenon has been reported throughout history, from Julius Caesar, to the journals of sailors on Magellan’s voyage around the globe, to the writings of Shakespeare, Melville and Charles Darwin.

A chronicler of Magellan’s voyage to circle the globe, observed:  “During those storms the holy body, that is, to say St. Elmo, appeared to us many times in light…on an exceedingly dark night on the maintop where he stayed for about two hours or more for our consolation.”   Darwin wrote that one night when the Beagle was anchored in the estuary of the Rio Plata:  “Everything was in flames, the sky with lightning, the water with luminous particles, and even the very masts were pointed with a blue flame.”   The appearance of St Elmo’s Fire is regarded as a good omen for sailors, as it tends to occur near the end of severe thunderstorms or weather systems, the answer to sailors’ prayers for heavenly intervention. In these moments, the guiding hand of Saint Elmo is present.

The endurance of Saint Erasmus in the face of cruel and horrific torture reminds us that the Lord is always with those who love Him.   It is difficult to imagine being in a position of profound physical torture, like that many of the early Church’s Martyrs endured.   In our day to day lives, we often find it difficult to withstand the smallest inconveniences and hurts we experience, generally feeling lost and overwhelmed.   But the lives of the early Martyrs are not that different from our own.   Terminal illnesses, significant financial and vocational struggles, victimisation and trauma fill our lives and the lives of those we love.   Our suffering is sometimes great, albeit different from the early Martyrs. Our call is to join that suffering to Christ, to look to the Lord for support and succour, to rely on Our Blessed Mother for grace and intercession.   When we are able to do that—when we are able to look beyond our struggles and suffering to see the face of God present within us, we grow closer to the glorious Saints and Martyrs who reflected their faith for all to see, even in the midst of great pain!

St Erasmus, pray for us!