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Valverde, Cantania, Italy (1038)


Traditionally Approved

40 - 999 1400 - 1499
1000 - 1099 1500 - 1599
1100 - 1199 1600 - 1699
1200 - 1299 1700 - 1799
1300 - 1399 1800 - 1899

Vatican Approved
Bishop Approved
Coptic Approved
Approved for Faith Expression
Apparitions to Saints
Unapproved Apparitions
Madonna di Valverde (Holy Mary of Valverede)

Our Lady of ValverdeSummary

Situated on a charming plateau at the foot of Etna, the enchanting views of the lush green valley, until the blue expanse of the Ionian Sea, the Shrine of Our Lady of Valverde is always the destination of many pilgrims and devotees. The image of Mary, who is venerated on a pillar, is beautiful enough to be attributed not to the brush of a man, the Liturgy speaks Divinitus formed, divinely done!

The tradition dates back to the apparition of the Virgin to a fierce bandit who repents. It was a bloody and dramatic time in the history of Sicily. It is the time of the clash of three civilizations: the Arab who dominated more than two centuries, the Byzantine trying to recapture their old glories, and the young Norman civilizations that succeed victor. This magnificent and dramatic scenery would be followed by wars, destruction, banditry, piracy, theft, murder and every kind of violence.


Norman troops, allied to the Byzantines, but indignant at the unjust distribution of the booty taken from the Arabs in the first battle, they retire in their county of Aversa. One soldier, however, a certain Dionysius, perhaps Ligurian origin, attracted by the place and wealth, and even more for the greed of easy money, remains on the island and gives you a life of brigandage, lurking in the wood along the path that leads from Catania Aci old, close to the underlying Vallis viridis. This area had become the scene of thefts, assaults and murders. But right here waiting for him to Our Lady, Mother of mercy!

A pious man named Egidio of the city of Catania, having to go to Aci, while fearing the danger, but confident in the protection of Our Lady, to whome he was greatly devoted, went on the road. He had already come a long stretch of road, when suddenly, from the depths of the woods an assassin jumoed out with the dagger raised the threatening his life.

Suddenly a voice from a globe of light, can be heard. "Dionysius, Dionysius, do not touch my devotion."

The voice stopped robber's arm, and he looked around, then looked up at the top:

"Lay down that weapon - you still feel like saying - and cease this life of banditry."

At these words is part of Dionysius himself, included a flash, the monstrosity of his life, acknowledged his mistake, threw away the murder weapon and prostrated himself at the feet of the victim, asking for forgiveness. It is the first miracle: Giles is safe and Dionysus is converted! The Virgin Mary appeared as a result of Dionysius weeping for his sins in the cave where he lives, comforted him urging him to trust in the goodness and mercy of God is present to the priest for forgiveness and invite priests and faithful of Aci procession to climb on Valverde hill.

Water to build and to heal

Mary would indicate, with wonder, the place where she wanted a church to be built with the money acquired through violence. When, a few days later, the devout procession of clergy and people of Aci came on the hill, a noisy flock of cranes hovering in the sky and lands on the spot where now stands the Sanctuary: It is the sign that Mary wanted to have her house here! Work on the construction of the primitive chapel begin immediately with great fervor, but progressing very slowly due to lack of water. The faith of Dionysius once again turned to the Virgin Mary who intervened by ordering a pickaxe at the base of the rock forming the cave of the old robber. The result was a pool of water that not only allowed the continuation of construction of the chapel, but soon became a source of healing for many sick people. The work began in 1038 was completed two years later, in 1040.

The miraculous image

One night in August, while absorbed in prayer, Dionysius was struck by a beam of intense light and saw a cloud in which the Madonna was surrounded by angels. As the cloud rises, and the light disappeared, and a beautiful image of Mary imprinted on the rough wall of a pillar of the church.

"The Virgin Mary appeared sitting on a stool with a large back, dressed in red robes with gold ornaments, close to the hips with a Nazarene belt. A white veil covered her head, leaving to see the abundant hair, which seems to be able to count one by one on her forehead.

A coat, dark blue in color, rich in gold lace, gracefully covers the shoulders and knees, giving her a look of majestic dignity, beauty is the face of heaven, and filled with vermilion cheeks, forehead short Nose profile, pronounced lips and smiling eyes blacks, vibrant, fixing, talk, conquers, fall in love.

With his right hand holding the little boy Jesus, from the face of a naive charm, curly-haired, beautiful, dressed in a white tunic, loose breast: the bosom sits leaning on a red cushion green-gold decorations. With the right hand blesses the spectators watching them lovingly, and with the other caressing a small crane, which timidly hiding in the left hand of the beautiful Lady. Top two angels hold a golden tiara on the head of Mary, as they say that it is the Queen of Vallis Viridis lucky and the majestic Etna. "

(From Popular History of the Shrine of Valverde, The Nuovagrafica, Catania, 1962.)


The feast day of Our Lady of Valverde is August 26th.


Santuario di Valverde -


Don Mario Morra SDB, "Mary Help of Christians" ( magazine) January 2005


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