January 27

Beata Vergine del Pilar, Castenaso, Bologna, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Castenaso is a small town six miles outside Bologna on the Idice River. The chapel of Santa Maria delle Tombe (St. Mary of the Tombs), built in 1315, came into the possession of the Spanish College of Bologna some 50 years later. In 1672 a painting by Giovanni Battista Bolognini was hung in the chapel, depicting Our Lady of the Pillar, the famous Black Virgin of Zaragoza, Spain, with St. James the Greater and St. Peter Arbues, an alumnus of the college. On January 27, 1699, Maria Maddalena Azzaroni, oldest of five children, hurried by the chapel on her way to borrow some oil from her aunt, without stopping to say her customary prayer at the spot. Hearing a voice say, "Maria Maddalena, have you given up your devotions to the Madonna?" she went back and prayed before the image. The Madonna came out of the painting, holding out her hands, and asked the girl to remain always devoted to her. Four years later, when the Church had approved the miracle and built a baroque sanctuary there, Maddalena entered a convent. (Information from Maria di Nazareth, www.mariadinazareth.it/apparizione%20castenaso.htm. Photo from Marcello Mamini, "eutanasia di un amore," Il piacere di leggere, www.ilpiaceredileggere.it.)  


Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly