Saint of the Day – 14 April – Saint John of Montemarano OSB (Died 1095) First Bishop of Montenarano, Italy in 1074, Benedictine Monk, thaumaturge. Died on 14 April 1095 of natural causes. Patronage – Montemarano, Italy. Additional Memorial – 21 August in Motemarano.
Montemarano, Italy may be a sleepy little vineyard Town now but from 1059 to 1818, it was the seat of a Diocese. The Town’s first Bishop is appropriately its Patron Saint.
I can find no information online about his early life and path to the Priesthood. His career begins with Pope Gregory VII, who had been exiled by Emperor Henry IV; during that exile, he agreed with the good folks of Montemarano that they should have their own Bishop. John was appointed and duly consecrated.
When John took over his seat, the building was in a state of decay. John then led the congregation in prayer for the means to restore the building. As they prayed, it was revealed to John, that the local Priest had been living a sinful life and actually using the Church as a rendezvous for evil friends. Once this Priest had repented and performed suitable penance, the Church was miraculously restored to its former glory.
Another miracle involved, wine. Some workers were clearing land so that more vineyards could be planted. One source suggests that John was the inspiration for this land-clearing project and he was involved in the labour as well. The work was hard and they demanded more wine before they continued. But there wasn’t enough wine, so they needed more vineyards. They couldn’t expand the vineyards until they gave the workers more wine. Bishop John, drew a quantity of water from the nearby river and blessed it. The Lord, recalling the second chapter of the Gospel of John, changed the water into wine!
Santa Maria de Camarino / Our Lady of Guam, Mariana Islands (1825), Patron of Guam – 14 April:
Our Lady of Guam, the miraculous Statue to which the natives have such deep devotion, is three feet high, all ivory from the delicate classical face of Our Lady to the hem of her exquisite gown. She has a head of long brown hair, adorned with a beautiful crown and golden rings hang from her tiny ears. According to the Jesuit history of the island, Our Lady’s coming was miraculous. A Spanish soldier, in the year 1825, was fishing a distance from the shore between the villages of Mirizo and Umatac, when he saw a strange object floating upon the waves. He moved closer and saw that it was a Statue, supported by giant golden crabs, holding lighted candles in their claws. The soldiers claiming the Statue as their own, installed it as Patroness in their barracks. They made a Shrine for her, a wall recess with doors like a cupboard or camarino, from which Our Lady of the Cupboard takes her name. She is called Santa Maria de Camarino.
She made her home for many years in the barracks but the atmosphere did not always please her. She would be found missing, only to return with the edge of her mantle full of burs. When the soldiers were drunk with coconut brew, she would slam the doors of her cupboard shut against them. No-one remembers how she came to leave the barracks for the Cathedral of Agana but on 14 April, a great earthquake occurred, terrorising the natives and destroying their homes. It is believed that on that day, she deserted the uncouth soldiers and showed herself to be the Patroness of the people and of Guam in particular. Many miracles of protection are attributed to Our Lady of Guam on this day.
On the eve of this day, the people place a lighted candle outside their tight-closed shutters, they do this in memory of their Fathers who made the promise to Santa Maria de Camarino. In 1825 and again in 1834, they vowed to celebrate yearly a special feast for her protection from Linao, the earthquake and Pagyo, the typhoon.
On its part the miraculous Statue has seen to it ,that no devout life has since that time been lost. Earthquakes and typhoons have come and left destruction, yet they have never taken one life or harmed the children of Santa Maria de Camarino, Our Lady of Guam. Such is the story of Our Lady of the Cupboard, the miraculous Virgin of Guam; to the eyes of fact simply a beautiful Statue, some three feet height, executed with all the refinement of eighteenth century art, yet to the eye of faith, she is power incarnate. She is all ivory, but where that ivory came from, or what artist fashioned those exquisite hands, she alone can tell, just as she is the only one who knows the truth of her coming to Guam. The Statue has real human hair and two crowns are used to dress the Statue. One of the crowns is made from gold pieces given to the Church by the late Ana Martinez Underwood, who donated the gold pieces (given to her by her husband as a wedding gift) in thanksgiving for the safe return of her husband from prison camp following World War II.
One of the more famous miraclesis that of a great earthquake in 1902, when the Dulce Nombre de Maria Church was severely damaged. Many of the Statues were broken but not that of Our Lady of Camarin, which the Priest, Father José Palomo, found standing intact on the ground.
The Statue also survived fire, when on 8 December 1945, it was rescued from a burning float by Jose D Leon Guerrero.
Because the Statue has suffered discolourations, nicks and other minor defects in the course of time, minor repairs have been made. According to one story, during one occasion when repairs were being made, the scraping of her face was too rough and the face began to bleed.
Other miracles attributed to her include, belief in her powers of intercession, cures of dreadful diseases and safe removal from great danger. She has long been considered, the protectress of the island and its people. Flags of various nations have flown over the royal coconut trees of Agana, admirals and governors have come and gone and each, in his proper time, has departed. Spanish architecture has had its day and the Seabee buildings mushroomed all over the island. Yet, Santa Maria de Camarino abides through all changes to cherish her strangely chosen people. She reigns affectionately in the hearts of the people, the natives, as their Queen and Patroness.
When American Marines and Soldiers during the latter part of July, 1944, captured the island of Guam, the native population was, for the most part, Catholic. The Faith was brought there, no doubt, by Spanish Priests who accompanied Magellan when he sailed around the world. And Mary, Our Lady of Guam, Our Lady of the Cupboard, loves them and protects them.