The sanctuary of Santa Maria dei Miracoli

After an extremely long, hot and extremely sweaty 10 km stage we reached today the Santuario "Santa Maria die Miracoli", which was to be our home of the day. Its history goes back to the fifth century A.D., when Mary appeared here to an old man and since then has caused a whole series of miracles. Later the shrine also became a Benedictine monastery. However, unlike most of the monasteries and convents in the area, this one still follows its ancient tradition of hospitality and offers a place to stay to pilgrims, hikers and others when they need one.

The history of the sanctuary of "Santa Maria die Miracoli

The history of the sanctuary begins in 1576, when an old farmer was caught in a violent storm on his way home. He prayed that he would survive this terrible storm and promptly received a visit from the Holy Mary. She protected him and he survived the storm without problems. When he later reported about it in the village, his fellow citizens were so enthusiastic that finally a chapel was built in memory of this event and dedicated to Mary.

Of course the people were not stupid and so it was soon realized that St. Mary surely had other miracles in her repertoire, if she was already quite generous the first time. The plan worked out and in the following decades one miracle followed the next. The most different things happened. From spontaneous healing, to the return of missing persons, to the sudden and inexplicable wealth of those who asked. Over the years, the place became more and more famous and was named "Holy Mary of Miracles" for the first time.

The message is spreading

Just thirty years later the chapel had already become too small and was replaced by a larger one. Now the holy place of miracles was already known and in demand throughout Abruzzo. Shortly afterwards the first pilgrims arrived and with the following years the place where Mary fulfilled the wishes of the people was known throughout Italy. In 1824 the authorities decided to consecrate a temple to the place, which would be of an appropriate size and would give a proper welcome to the pilgrims. This stood until the beginning of the 20th century.

Then it fell rapidly into disrepair as the clergymen who had taken care of it when soldiers had to go to war and for the most part did not return. Finally, the church was largely destroyed by bombing during the Second World War. About 20 years later, a congregation of the Benedictine order came to build a new, larger church and an associated monastery. That monastery, to which we were invited today.

The tradition is maintained

Unlike many of the Franciscan monasteries, which today unfortunately seem to have completely forgotten their origins, the Benedictines here still feel called to welcome pilgrims. Even when they have no direct religious background. A credential is sufficient as proof that one is really wandering and does not just want to take a free holiday. However, it is important to speak directly with the abbot. Because as always in church institutions in Italy, he has the sole power of decision.

The slogan of the day: Miracles never cease...

Stage finish: Institute of the Saliciani, Vasto, Italy

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