Materdomini, Italy: Church of Saint Gerard
The story of Saint Gerard:
Gerard Majella, C.Ss.R. was a lay brother in the Redemptrist Order and is a saint honored throughout the world, not only in Italy but especially in the United States and Canada. He was on this earth only 29 years, but had a tremendous impact on those around him.
He was known especially for caring for the poor and for many miracles that seemed to be impossible. He is said to have increased a family’s small supply of grain that then lasted until the last harvest; walked on water to help rescue a group of fisherman; and many others including the ability to bi-locate and to read people’s souls.
He is especially invoked by expectant mothers due to an incident that happened after his death. He had dropped a handkerchief at a home in Oliveto Citra, where he went to visit, and a little girl in the family ran after him to give it to him. He told her to keep it, which she did. As an adult this young girl was giving birth and it appeared that she was about to die. She remembered the incident, and asked that it be brought to her. It was placed on her womb and immediately the pain ceased and she gave birth to a healthy baby. The handkerchief was passed on from generation to generation. It is for this reason that he is invoked by so many expectant parents.
He was beatified in Rome on January 29, 1893, by Pope Leo XIII and canonised on December 11, 1904, by Pope Pius X.
We celebrate the Feast of Saint Gerard on October 16.
About the church in Materdomini:
On November 23, 1980 a violent earthquake hit the town, and although the village itself was spared, the original church was destroyed.
The new Basilica, where Masses are held, contains what is called the “room of the bows” as shown in the photo to the right. This is where parents drop off either pink or blue bows in gratitude for their successful childbirth. It is covered floor to ceiling and there is a place where you can drop things off as well.
The old sanctuary was rebuilt and the relics of the saint returned to the place of the first burial. The body of Saint Gerard is on display in the old church.
There several Masses weekdays and more on Sundays, in addition to reconciliation,
Traveling to Materdomini:
Materdomini, in Latin, means “Mother of God”. We highly recommend a visit here….it is an especially moving experience for many. Unfortunately the town is a bit out of the way, with a population of less than 1,000, so it is usually visited by independent travelers. It is not part of any tour company’s schedule that we have been able to find, with the exception of groups originating in Italy. The nearest major town is Oliveto Citra: site of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and well worth a visit; however it is not terribly large either.
Address: Via del Santuario, 30, 83040 Caposele AV, Italy
GPS coordinates: 40° 48′ 57.6216” N, 15° 14′ 5.3088” E
Tel: +39 (0827) 5378 Fax +39 (0827) 58498
e-mail: [email protected]
Click here for the official website of Saint Gerard’s shrine at Materdomini.
You will also find a Shrine to Saint Gerard in Newark, New Jersey.