Castelpetroso, Italy: Santuario Maria Santissima Adolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows)
In a country with so many shrines, many of which are devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, some are often overlooked by visitors. Such is the case here in this small town about 120 miles Southeast of Rome.
The history of the Sanctuary of Castelpetroso dates from March 22, 1888. Two peasants were farming some land and had brought two sheep with them. They discovered that one was missing and so they split up, and one of them found the sheep standing outside a cave. A luminous light came from it and he was surprised by a vision of Our Lady of Sorrows at the foot of the Cross. He called for his companion, but he could see nothing . Ten days later, April 1 (which happened to be Easter), Our Lady appeared again and this time both men could see her.
As you might suspect, many people were doubtful and suspected the men of making up the story; however, there were some who went to the spot to pray. In September of that year the local Bishop went to the spot and he was graced with the same vision. As if further proof was needed, a spring suddenly appeared in the ground near the cave.
Many thousands have visited here over the years, including Pope John Paul II in 1995 and Pope Francis in July 2014.
The Basilica Santuario Maria Santissima Adolorata:
The Basilica is open from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. daily, although those attending early Mass are admitted by 6:30 a.m. Facilities include a cafe open for lunch and dinner, a hostel with option of full board and a gift shop.
Masses at 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Confessions are heard throughout the day.
The Feast day is celebrated twice each year: on March 22 and the last Sunday of September.
Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows:
Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows became a standard devotion in the Church around the 14th century. It was revealed to Saint Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) that devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Seven Sorrows would bring great signal graces. The devotion consists in praying seven Hail Mary’s while meditating on the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
Here in Castelpetroso, The Via Matris di Castelpetroso, inaugurated on 27 October 1947, is a 750-meter path thatruns along the mountain and connects the Sanctuary with the place of the apparitions.
Divided into seven stages, each one was marked by a copper shrine, enclosed in a niche
in masonry, which commemorates one of the seven pains.
Since 1947 thousands of faithful have crossed the Via Matris dolorosa pausing and meditating on pains that the Virgin Mary, mother and co-worker of the Savior, suffered during her life
in the fulfillment of its mission.
Outside the Basilica, in the Via Matris, the life of the Virgin Mary is divided into seven ‘stations’, corresponding to seven sorrows of Mary. Some ‘stations’ of the Via Matris coincide with The Way of the Cross .
The Seven Pains (Sorrows) of Mary:
1. The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34-35)
2. The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-21)
3. The Loss of Jesus for Three Days (Luke 2:41-50)
4. The Carrying of the Cross (John 19:17)
5. The Crucifixion of Jesus (John 19:18-30)
6. Jesus Taken Down from the Cross (John 19:39-40)
7. Jesus Laid in the Tomb (John 19:39-42)
Traveling to Castelpetroso:
Castelpetroso is about 120 miles south of Rome. The nearest train station is Isernia. There are several trains from Rome daily: the direct train takes about two hours or, in some cases, you have change trains in Naples, in which case the travel time is about three hours. From Naples it is much shorter of course. From Isernia you can take a bus or taxi to the Shrine.
Address: Via del Santuario, 40, 86090 Castelpetroso IS, Italy
GPS coordinates: 41° 32′ 58.4916” N, 14° 18′ 34.8912” E
Tel / Fax: +39 936 110 0865
e-mail: [email protected]
Click here for the official website of the Sanctuary