Monday after the last Sunday in May

Maria Santissima di Pietrasanta, San Giovanni a Piro, Salerno, Campania, Italy

The town of San Giovanni a Piro grew up around an abbey founded around 990 by Greek-rite Basilian monks. It was probably the Basilians who, around 1200, sculpted the statue of St. Mary of Holystone in a hilltop rock overlooking the Gulf of Policastro, carving out the statue's niche in the same rock. A small barrel-vaulted chapel was built around it, enlarged in the 1600s and decorated inside with gold-trimmed stucco work. Nearby is a spring of healing water, where the Madonna is said to have appeared to two young shepherds who were looking for a missing lamb. The main pilgrimage takes place on the day after the last Sunday in May. The procession leaves the town church in the morning, some walking the difficult trail up to the shrine barefoot, others taking the scenic highway. In thanks for answered prayers, some pilgrims bring cÚnte, large portable shrines with candles and votive offerings symbolizing the graces received, tied with white ribbons bearing the date of the blessing. Their vows are renewed with annual pilgrimages as long as they live. Several associated chapels house the cÚnte amassed over the centuries. The shrine is the focus of smaller pilgrimages on January 3, anniversary of its miraculous survival when French troops tried to burn it in 1806; and August 15, the emigrants' reunion.   

Sources include: 

bulletAmedeo la Greca, Guida del Cilento 2, Il Folklore, Centro di Promozione Culturale per il Cilento, Acciaroli, 1990, in "Tradizioni popolari," Cilento Cultura, www.cilentocultura.it/cultura/feste3.htm 
bullet"Il Santuario di Pietrasanta," Comune di San Giovanni a Piro, sangiovanniapiro.asmenet.it/index.php?action=index&p=276
bullet"San Giovanni a Piro," Il Portale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano, www.cilentodoc.it
bullet"Santuario Maria SS. di Pietrasanta - San Giovanni a Piro," Facebook, te-in.facebook.com/group.php?gid=86118911975 (picture)

Also commemorated this date:

bulletMadonna di Loreto, Torino di Sangro, Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy
bulletOur Lady of Walsingham, Walsingham, Norfolk, England, UK. National Pilgrimage to Anglican shrine on Whit Monday bank holiday.
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly