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La Madonna della Civita
The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Civita is situated on the top of Mount Civita, which is located in the town of Itri in the province of Latina in the region of Lazio. The Sanctuary is one of the oldest in all of Italy. The Madonna holds a special place in my heart because of my family's devotion to her. Each year my family celebrates the feast of the Madonna by holding a special mass on the Sunday closest to her feast day, which is July 21.
The origin of the Sanctuary, transmitted from a document preserved in the archives of the parish, is very touching. A poor deaf-mute shepherd having lost a cow, found it kneeling at the feet of a great holm-oak tree. Looking up, he saw between the branches of a tree, a picture of Our Lady who seemed to smile at him. Instinctively he fell on his knees and instantly he regained his speech. Greatly moved, he eagerly descended the hill to relate with tears and trembling voice the vision. The people hearing the deaf-mute, and they all knew that he was a deaf-mute, ran to the place of the prodigy and they were all able to verify the vision.
With great respect and devotion the picture was removed from the holm-oak tree and carried in procession to the principal church of the village. The following day, to the great astonishment of all, the picture could not be found in the church, and without anyone having removed it, again it was found between the branches of the holm-oak on the Civita hill. The church authorities and the people then understood that the Virgin wished to be honored in the place where she had deigned to appear. A chapel was then built there and in 1492 the Bishop of Gaeta consecrated the first church that was to become the great Sanctuary of Civita.
If you happen to be passing through the province of Latina and have some time to visit the sites please take a few minutes to admire the beauty of one of the oldest Sanctuaries in all of Italy.
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