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Nocera Superiore, Italy (1041)
Santa Maria di Materdomini

Our Lady of ValverdeSummary

In 1041 the Virgin appeared to be a poor peasant who was lying under an oak tree. Mary told the woman to invite people to dig beneath the oak, where shewould find an image. But the woman was afraid to face public opinion and did not speak.

Some time later the woman had a vision: the oak tree where the Madonna had appeared was enveloped by three tongues of flame and a fragrant cloud rose on the tree. At the same time she met a soldier near the oak tree a monstrous serpent that terrorized the area, he claimed that Mary killed the reptile.

The peasant then decided to talk to try to convince the locals to dig under the oak, but only where they found the remains of an ancient cistern. The neighbors of the woman were disappointed and mocked her, nicknaming her ironically Caramari (dear to Mary). Some years later, Caramari saw the Virgin and ordered that the inhabitants of the area dig under the tank as she believed a precious stone had detached from her ring. When Mary was gone, she found herself blind. The villagers were moved by pity to resume the excavation: they found the precious stone and they repaired by two slabs of marble, an old Byzantine icon depicting the Virgin and Child, while Caramari recovered her sight.

The icon, dated between the 4th and 6th century, was kept in a chapel built in 1061 and consecrated by Pope Nicholas II. Upon discovery the icon had no name, only later was given the title of Mater Christi (Mother of the Lord). The devotion to the sacred image, fed by numerous miracles (e.g. resurrection of the dead, healing the blind, the possessed, paralytics) grew rapidly.

Currently, the icon is stored in a harmonious temple of polychrome marble and porphyry, the work of an artist from Naples (1641).


The temple is enclosed in a beautiful neo-classical basilica full of paintings, gilded stucco, marble, works of 700 artists and the following centuries: A. Solimena, G. Diano, F. Guarino, L. Grimaldi and anonymous. Two large windows are the work of Tarcisio Manta. Keepers of the Shrine and the image was initially Humble Brothers, Priests called Whites;

1631 to 1829 the Basilian monks, who came from Grottaferrata, then held up the shrine of the Friars Minor of St. Francis 'Assisi.

Pius XI gave sanctuary to the title of Minor Basilica in 1923.

In 1931 it was declared a National Monument.

The events of history, wars, revolutions, and Neapolitan Napoleonic suppression, natural catastrophes like the eruption of Vesuvius, the earthquakes, the last one in 1980, have profoundly marked the path of Sanctuary, which remains a beacon of light for all the religious and civil Nocerino area and Campania. Never has the devotion of the faithful has failed, the people rushed in Materdomini to praise Mary and to her and help get through the journey of faith.

At the Sanctuary lies the monastery that houses a dozen monks and the Regional Center of the Franciscan Order. The SFO Fraternity, very active, also has its headquarters in the local convent


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