Oliveto Citra, Italy: Apparitions of Our Lady
About the apparitions:
May 24, 1985 is the date that the Blessed Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in the small town of Oliveto Citra, south of Naples. May 24 is the Feast of Saint Macarius, patron saint of the village of Oliveto Citra.
To understand the significance of the reported apparition (it is still under investigation by the Church) it is helpful to understand the spiritual state of the people of the village at this time. The feast was no longer religious, but rather secular, and the mayor and most of the town council that had just been voted in were Communists and certainly no friends to the Catholic faith.
Across from the church stands an old castle built in 1145, which was not in use. An old stone stairway led from the little square (Piazza Garibaldi) up to the fence and iron gate of the castle.
Following is an account from Tom and Sue Melillo, who have talked to the parish priest:
“We met in 1995 with the parish priest of Oliveto Citra, Msgr Giuseppe Amato and he gave us a first-hand account of the reported apparitions. On this date as the villagers celebrated the feast day in the town’ piazza, a group of 12 children were playing in front Rufolo’s Pharmacy and then wandered a bit further until they were at the foot of the castle. He recounted how the children heard a baby crying, looked further to investigate and then saw a beautiful woman holding a baby. They ran to get some of the adults in the piazza, they then saw a beautiful woman.
A waitress from a nearby cafe named Anita went to see what all the fuss was about and the vision spoke to her. She was so shocked she had to be taken to the hospital afterwards. The following night the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Anita again, this time in her home. This was to be the first of over 20 apparitions to Anita.
Over 100 villagers signed statements as to the events and others from surrounding towns testified as well.”
Word spread that on July 20th Our Lady would give a message, and some 2,000 people gathered in the piazza and at the entrance to the castle. On that day a red cloud appeared to everyone within a ten kilometer area. Several of the children continued to have apparitions as well giving apocolyptic messages but also messages of hope.
There is much more to the story, but these are the basic facts. Today there are still prayer groups that meet at the foot of the castle, and reports of cures and conversion of heart from many who visit here. And the latter is what pleases Msgr. Guiseppe the most.
An interesting fact is that the visionaries of Oliveto Citra report that the Virgin Mary told them that her birthday is actually on August 5th. This is the same message as reported by the visionaries in Medjugorje. Of course the official Church celebration of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is September 8th.
Traveling to Oliveto Citra:
Msgr Guiseppe pointed out that not many groups come to the site, since it is a bit out of the way and not yet recognized by the Church. The nearest major city is Salerno. There is no direct rail service to Oliveto Citra, you travel from Salerno as far as Contursi Terme, then a taxi for the remainder of the trip (about 6 miles).
The information below is for the Church (you can easily reach the castle from here).
Address: Parrocchia S.Maria Della Misericordia, Via Chiesa, Oliveto Citra SA, Italy
GPS coordinates: 40° 41′ 27.3300” N, 15° 13′ 53.7744” E
Tel: (+39) 0828 798327
Check out this blog article about Oliveto Citra.
Click here for a site in Italy dedicated to Oliveto Citra.