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Sorso, Sassari (Italy) May 26, 1208


Traditionally Approved

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La Madonna del BagnoLa Madonna di "Noli me Tollere" (Our Lady of "Do Not Kill Me")

Sorso is approximately four kilometers from the sea and its climate is mild in all seasons of the year and makes for a pleasant stay. The streets, though not regular, are almost all paved, and buildings, although simple, for most are two or even three floors, there is a good market and there are plenty of shops and edible goods, pharmacies, cafes, restaurants, and all those other little conveniences that there are found in the towns in the island and the mainland.

In the early thirteenth century, Sorso, like many other towns and villages of the island located near the sea, was constantly invaded by Turkish pirates and Saracens, who spread terror and devastation everywhere, so the population was living in anguish, and continued to be apprehensive for fear of further oppression.

The story comes from some traditions - what though vaguely stated, by some historians, including Casalis - that around 1208 the Sorso was lifted up by a heavenly favor.

On May 26th, a poor dumb man who was wandering around the beach, met a beautiful lady with a smiling face and incredible sweetness who commanded him to come back soon in the village. She told him to go to the priests and the people and tell them that she wanted to be with them to protect them and defend them from all enemies. The mute was stunned since he did not know how to express himself verbally, and the ebst he could do would be to show signs since he was deprived of speech, but the Lady urged him to obey, assuring him that he would hebe able to perfrom the task.

The man returned to the country, and met with the pastor leading the other people, and first told him with gestures and signs and then with speech. As people, attracted by the novelty of the thing, flocked from all parts, the mute tongue had melted and he was able to clearly tell what he had seen and had been told to report.

All of them were in amazement, and the miracle which was confirmed by the fact reportedly left no doubt. So now the pastor gathered all the people and urged by him to hope and gratitude, all marched in procession to the place indicated by the healed mute, but instead of the beautiful woman found a statue of the Blessed Virgin. They took that holy image with all possible respect and returned to their lucky country on May 26, 1208. They took the Holy Image to the parish church of San Pantaleo, and after a long and devout prayer, everyone returned to their homes.

The night passed and the morning after, many flocked to the church to venerate the holy picture, but they never found it, nor any other place at the altar of the church. Many were astonished and began to cry bitterly.

It was Saturday, May 28, 1208: another blessed day for this country. A man went to see his oxen and arrive at a small camp that was located in the lower part of town, the place where the church now stands. In this there were "hazibuche" or wild olive trees. It happened that this man went under one of these trees, raising his eyes he saw on it the Holy Image, then ran to the village and gave the good news. Together they went in procession to bring it back to the holy temple of San Pantaleo and place it there. They immediately ran to the place where they found it the day before, and found in the same tree, on a marble stone under her feet a sign that many could not understand, said: "Noli Me Tollere" .

Clergy and people understood this fact clearly that the Heavenly Mother had chosen that site for its headquarters and home and immediately made the promise to build a church there. Meanwhile, reported the statue in the parish, but from that day until there was left, he never left again. Faithful made the promise and soon began the work, and many were the oblations and offerings collected for this purpose that in less than a year the church was completed. It consisted of three aisles, forming a low imperfect cross: the altar was built on the site where he had planted the tree in which was found the Blessed Virgin, which was solemnly carried and threatened in his new home, as soon as it was decently furnished, for celebrating the occasion of solemn feasts.

Popular tradition recalls many wonders and miracles wrought by the Queen of Heaven, including the rapid and continuous freedom from endless invasions of enemies and the preservation of their country, although close to the sea, while many others were destroyed. For which grew so much devotion to the Most Holy Virgin of Noli Me Tollere that the festival was celebrated in her honor. Each year it increased in pomp and solemnity; they were who on their death bequeathed to the Virgin their property, so the church soon became the owner of a considerable fortune, whose revenue was more than enough for the feast and running and maintenance of the shrine. The early church had the facade that looked to sea, but was torn down and built the present, having the Blessed Virgin turned to the country.

On May 31, at the conclusion of the Marian Month, there is a pilgrimage to Predugnanu, places where the image of Our Lady was brought in procession to the parish church in the year 1208, according to popular tradition. Here, now, there is a chapel built by the Committee as a sign of gratitude to Our Lady "Noli Me Tollere" for having liberated the country from the danger of bombing during World War II. The chapel built in 1904, was renovated a few years ago.

The Prayer of the Most Holy Virgin. "Noli Me Tollere"

Blessed Virgin "Noli Me Tollere"
who appeared during the most tragic time in the history of our country
maternally to our fathers, and chose this shrine
which your home and what throne of grace and mercy,
always showing the shelter, protection and defense of
souls, family, country, accepted the homage benign
of our veneration and our consecration;
preserved in our souls the gift of faith and divine grace;
bestowed on our family the joy of peace, harmony and
prosperity, save us from all enemies of soul and body;
loving watch over our people and our work;
illuminate us and sanctify us in our businesses and our crosses,
so that all our life takes place under your maternal gaze,
the consent of your Divine Son Jesus and the joy of
Your heavenly blessings. So be it.



Historical reconstruction based on the report of Father Boniface Orissa (1884-1956) and P. Benedict Ozieri (XVII)

Bibliography: "Sorso ecco tua Madre!" La Madonna "Noli Me Tollere" edited by P. Julius Baldus, editor of Sanctuary Zelatrici Works, 2000.


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