June 5

Beata Vergine dell'Aiuto, Bobbio, Piacenza, Emilia Romagna, Italy

In the 1400s, Adriano Repetino had a vineyard in fields of Corgnate outside Bobbio, on the road to the hub of Piacenza. He built a wall along the road, and in it a niche with an image of Mary seated with the Child, who held a bouquet with one hand and raised the other in blessing. In the summer of 1472, the image became a focus of local devotion: there were healings, and the picture was seen to change its appearance. After an investigation, Church authorities decided the site merited a chapel. Adriano Repetino donated some property, and and the building was dedicated to the Annunciation of St. Mary.

On June 5, 1611, miracles resumed. The picture was found covered in sweat. Healings multiplied. The Bishop named the wonder-working image the "Blessed Virgin of Help." A larger, finer church, begun in 1621, was finally consecrated on July 13, 1738, and construction continued into the 1800s. Built over the old, the newer shrine houses the Madonna of Help's processional statue, modeled on the miraculous fresco in the old shrine below.

In thanks for her protection during World War II, the town of Bobbio named the Madonna of Help its principal patron in 1947, when the image was officially crowned. In 1970 Pope Paul VI elevated the church to the rank of Basilica Minor. 

The shrine celebrates May as Mary's month, closing the events on the evening of May 31 with a solemn procession through Bobbio, where all the churches are lighted and open for the occasion. On June 5, anniversary of the miracles of 1611, the shrine celebrates the Feast of the Madonna of Help with a solemn mass. 

1600s copy of the miraculous image from the Madonna dell'Aiuto's daughter shrine in Gorgonzola, to the north in the province of Lombardy, from "Santuario Madonna dell'Aiuto," Comunità Parrocchiale Madonna dell'Aiuto - Gorgonzola, www.chiesadigorgonzola.it

Sources include:

bullet"Santuario della Madonna dell'Aiuto," Wikipedia, it.wikipedia.org
bullet"BOBBIO: Beata Vergine dell'Aiuto/Madonna della Vigna," Santuari Mariani, www.donbosco-torino.it/ita/Maria/calendario/2002-2003/6-Bobbio_Madonna_Vigna.html
bullet"Eventi Religiosi. Processione della Madonna dell'Aiuto in Bobbio 31/05/2012 Santuario della Madonna Bobbio (PC), Emilia Romagna," Eventi e Sagri in Italia, www.eventiesagre.it

Also celebrated this date:

bulletMadonna delle Grazie, Farnese, Viterbo, Lazio, Italy (original feast, changed to the last Sunday in May in 1926)
bulletMatka Miłosierdzia, Białystok, Podlaskie, Poland (Merciful Mother). Copy of Ostra Brama icon in cathedral crowned, 1995.
bulletNuestra Señora de Tironcillo, Cuzcurrita de Río Tiron, La Rioja, Spain
bulletOur Lady of Ludzmierz, Lawton, Michigan, USA. Statue in St. Anne's Chapel blessed, 2005.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly