February 20

Madonna della Scala, Massafra, Taranto, Apulia, Italy

The story goes that in the first millennium AD, in an impregnable spot in the Valley of Roses, hunters found a wild deer kneeling before an image of the Madonna and Child, apparently from the crypt of Santa Maria Prisca (Old St. Mary's), which collapsed in the earthquake of 324. Near a great tufa staircase on the gorge wall, a chapel was built to house the Madonna of the Deer, known since the 900s as the Madonna of the Stair. The present sanctuary opened for worship in 1737. A few years later, residents of Massafra credited the Madonna of the Stair with saving them from an earthquake that devastated the region on February 20, 1743, and in 1776 the Pope designated her the city's patron. The city holds festivities in her honor on February 20 and the first Sunday in May. (Information from www.comunedimassafra.it. Photo by Angelo Notaristefano from it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santissima_Madonna_della_Scala.)   

Also commemorated this date:

bulletVergine del Carmelo, Mesagne, Brindisi, Apulia, Italy

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly