Vicoforte, Italy: The Sanctuary of Vicoforte & Miraculous Icon
The Miraculous Statue of Vicoforte:
A small shrine devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary was built here probably in the Twelfth or Thirteen Centuries (no one knows for sure). But what makes it famous is an incident that took place around the end of the Sixteenth Century.
In the year 1590 or so, a local hunting party was in the area and one of the hunters struck the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary that was in the shrine. Suddenly, it began to bleed. The hunter left his firearm (a muzzle-loading rifle) there as a memento of this occasion.
He then began to collect funds to help repair the damage. Later a large domed church was begun, but construction was halted until the mid-1700’s. It was finished in 1752. The dome measured 39 yards (36 meters) across, quite a feat for its time. In fact it was reported that the builder himself had to take down the scaffolding once the dome was finished because no one at the time believed that it could stand by itself.
Over the years Vicoforte became a place of pilgrimage and has continued to be up until today, with approximately one million visitors annually. There are Masses, confessions and a full range of spiritual activities. Many couples choose to get married here in this beautiful setting.
There is a hotel for those wishing to stay overnight and restaurant here as well.
Traveling to Vicoforte:
There is train service from Turin (about one hour) and other cities as far as Mondovi, about 3. 5 miles (6 Km) from the Monastery.
Click here for the official website of the Cistercian Monastery