Madonna di Porto Salvo / Our Lady of Porto Salvo, Lampedusa, Agrigento, Sicily, Italy (1843) – 22 September:
The island of Lampedusa lies far south of Sicily, closer to Tunisia than to Italy. Since the time of the Crusades, it has been home to a rural Shrine frequented by mariners both Christian and Muslim in the 1500s and 1600s, who kept an oil lamp burning constantly before the crude stone Statue of the Madonna and Child.
But the island was not inhabited until 22 September 1843, when two steamships of Italian colonists arrived under Governor Bernardo Maria Sanvisente. In Madonna Valley, they found the Chapel dilapidated and the mutilated Statue of the Virgin on the ground. Sanvisente ordered the Chapel and Statue to be restored and a Mass sung every year on 22 September in honour of the Madonna of Porto Salvo and the settlement of the island. During World War II, bombs destroyed the Church, but the Madonna was unhurt and no-one killed.
In 1967, the Virgin and Child were crowned but in 1979 the precious crowns were stolen. The faithful soon raised money for new ones and the Madonna of Porto Salvo was recrowned on 21 September 1980.
She is the Patron of fishermen and her celebration now lasts two weeks. On the first Sunday of September, the Statue processes from its Shrine to the main Church in town, where it is honoured with special services until the big day of the 22nd, when it processes solemnly through the City streets. Of course, the festa is the occasion for general entertainment, games and food as well. On the 23rd, a final procession returns the Madonna to the Sanctuary outside town.
Whilst exploring the story of this veneration of Our Lady, I discovered that on 22 September 2020 the “Key to the Island” was stolen. Below is the report in the local newspaper. Don Carmelo La Magra reassured all the islanders: “Whoever took it, repented, gave it back to me.” Great symbolic value – it is the key to the island in the hands of the Blessed Virgin:
“The key of Our Lady has been returned. Whoever took it, repented, gave it back to me anonymously. We thank the Virgin Mary because this story ended well and we pray for each other.” It is with this message that Fr Carmelo La Magra, Priest of Lampedusa, reassured all the islanders last night.
For hours, the alarm had been circulating on social media: “The golden key of the Madonna of Porto Salvo has been stolen“. A key that has a single, important meaning – the key of Lampedusa in the hands of the Blessed Virgin. A theft carried out, according to what was reported yesterday, on her feast day, 22 September. A party that, however, this year, due to the Coronavirus emergency, did not take place. The carabinieri, last night, did not find anything. Neither to those of the company command of Agrigento, nor to those of the Lampedusa station. No complaint had been formalised, nor had there been any interventions in this regard. But the military, having received informal news, immediately took an interest in the “case.”
A case that was resolved, fortunately, quickly and spontaneously. Because that key (which, according to what transpires, is not gold at all) was returned, as guaranteed by the Parish Priest of Lampedusa.
St Augustinus Yu Chin-Kil
St Digna of Rome
St Emerita of Rome
St Florentius the Venerable
St Gunthildis of Suffersheim (Died c 1057) Laywoman
St Ignatius of Santhia OFM Cap (1686-1770) Priest and Friar of the Capuchin Franciscans, renowned Spiritual Director, servant of the Confessional, apostle of charity Known as the “Father of Sinners and the Lost”
Bl Joseph Marchandon
St Lauto of Coutances
St Lindru of Partois
St Maurice & Co
Bl Otto of Freising
St Sanctinus of Meaux
St Silvanus of Levroux
St Thomas of Villanueva/Villanova OSA (1488-1555) Archbishop, Religious Priest of the Order of St Augustine, Confessor, Writer, Preacher, Teacher, Apostle of Charity, Mystic, Miracle-Worker often called “the Almsgiver” and “the Father of the Poor“, Reformer.
About St Thomas here:
Martyrs of the Theban Legion: Martyrs (c 287)
A Roman imperial legion of 6,600 soldiers, all of whom were Christians; they had been recruited from the area around Thebes in Upper Egypt, were led by Saint Maurice and served under Emperor Maximian Herculeus. Around the year 287, Maximian led the army across the Alps to Agaunum, an area in modern Switzerland, in order to suppress a revolt by the Bagandre in Gaul. In connection with battle, the army offered public sacrifices to the Roman gods; the Theban Legion refused to participate. For refusing orders, the Legion was decimated – one tenth of them were executed. When the remainder refused to sacrifice to the gods, they were decimated again. When the survivors still refused to sacrifice, Maximinian ordered them all killed. Martyrs.
Known members of the Legion include:
• Alexander of Bergamo
• Candidus the Theban
• Chiaffredo of Saluzzo
• Innocent of Agaunum
• Secundus the Theban
• Ursus the Theban
• Victor of Agaunum
• Victor of Xanten
• Victor the Theban
• Vitalis of Agaunum
Other profiled saints associated with the Legion include:
• Antoninus of Piacenza (martyred soldier; associated by later story tellers)
• Adventor of Turin (not a member; associated by later story tellers)
• Cassius (may have been a member)
• Florentius the Martyr (may have been a member)
• George of San Giorio (not a member; associated by later story tellers)
• Gereon (not a member, but another soldier who was martyred for refusing to make a sacrifice to Roman gods)
• Octavius of Turin (not a member; associated by later story tellers)
• Pons of Pradleves (escaped the massacre to become an evangelists in northern Italy)
• Secundus of Asti (not a member but linked due to art work)
• Solutor of Turin (not a member; associated by later story tellers)
• Tiberio of Pinerolo (may have been a member)
• Verena (wife of a member of the Legion)
They were martyred c 287 in Agaunum (modern Saint-Maurice-en-Valais, Switzerland. A basilica was built in Agaunum to enshrine the relics of the Legion.
The full story:
Martyrs of Valencia, Spain – Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Alfonso Lopez
• Blessed Antonio Gil-Monforte
• Blessed Antonio Sáez de Ibarra López
• Blessed Carlos Navarro Miquel
• Blessed Esteban Cobo-Sanz
• Blessed Federico Cobo-Sanz
• Blessed Félix Echevarría Gorostiaga
• Blessed Francisco Carlés González
• Blessed Francisco Vicente Edo
• Blessed Germán Gozalvo Andreu
• Blessed Josefina Moscardó Montalvá
• Blessed Luis Echevarría Gorostiaga
• Blessed María Purificación Vidal Pastor
• Blessed Miguel Zarragua Iturrízaga
• Blessed Simón Miguel Rodríguez
• Blessed Vicente Sicluna Hernández
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