Apparition of Madonna di Conche to St. Costanzo (Brescia, Lombardia, Italy)

Commemorated on February 12
Apparition of Madonna di Conche to St. Costanzo (Brescia, Lombardia, Italy)
Inspired by his great love of Mary, Mother of Mercy, Constantius decided to erect a church in her honor next to a small convent of nuns who live in humility and chastity, and care of the church. While, with some carpenters, praying the "Our Father", he was eyeing the logs for the beams and planks, Costanzo sees a white dove reappear, calmly, repeatedly takes in its beak a chip of wood in the air and transports it to the Mount . Curious of the occurrence,he follows it, and came into the town of Conche, where he realizes that the dove has ordered the chips and wood chips so as to trace the perimeter of a building. Looking up, Costanzo sees a Lady with the Child in her arms, lifted up on the perimeter marked by the dove, which, with motherly smile, points to the track. Therefore he builds in that place the church as proof of his conversion and his love for the Virgin. He erected the church and convent, and there has been a rush of pilgrims from all over to implore the protection and the graces of Our Lady of Mercy. 
 
Source: Don Mario Morra SDB (1) Antonio Fappani: "Conche ed il suo Santo", Brescia, Tip. 1987.
Magazine "Maria Ausiliatrice", Feb 2006; www.donbosco-torino.it

History

All the inhabitants of the area between Concesio, Ship, Cain, "from where the valley of the Val Garza s'abbraccia Gobbia, know and love the church, the old monastery, the fields, the sky, the vast landscape that ranges , in fine weather, to the blue of Lake Garda ". (1)
 
Up in Conche, beautiful place, but isolatissimo, where he still does not reach the paved road traveled by polluting cars and motorcycles roaring in nature and in absolute silence, no one would think to build a shrine, if not a saint. You must own the hermit San Costanzo construction, in that solitude to 1110 feet above the sea, a small chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Conche.
San Costanzo
 
The figure of St. Costanzo is shrouded in the mist of legend, so it is difficult to secure first sketch contours. The tradition fixes the date of his birth around 1066, and it wants or French, or Italian, or better yet Brescia, of noble blood, count or vassal, even related with the famous Countess Matilda of Canossa, in those years also of Mrs. Mantua. Handsome and brave, still a teenager, Costanzo following a military career. In one of the many battles between the partisans of the Emperor Henry IV and supporters of the reform of the Church in the struggle for the Investiture, the followers of Pope Gregory VII, is seriously wounded. Infirmity forced inaction, Costanzo reflects on his past life, on the plight of the Church torn apart by internal strife.
 
Tired of so much excitement and eager to silence and peace, surrounded by these thoughts, the feeling of being plunged into a hellish pit of flames horrible curses and cries of despair. He decides to abandon everything and retire to solitude to devote himself to prayer and meditation. And sold all that he has donated the proceeds to the poor, he withdrew into a desert place to dedicate everything to God
 
Tradition informs us that while it is in search of the place to retreat, Costanzo is driven by a white dove that leads between the green of the mountain of Conche where he settled and lived for over forty years one of the most rigid penances, in perfect chastity and in constant and generous charity to the poor and needy, so numerous in those times of war and natural disasters.
The Church and the ancient convent of nuns
 
Encouraged by the great love of Mary, Mother of Mercy, Constantius decided to erect a church in her honor next to a small convent of nuns who live in humility and chastity, and wait for the care of the church.
 
While, with some carpenters in the "Our Father", is eyeing the logs for the beams and planks, Costanzo sees the reappearance white dove with peace of mind, repeatedly takes in its beak a chip of wood and transports flying to the mountain . Incuriositosi of the thing, and the following, who arrived in town Conche, he realizes that the dove has ordered the chips and shavings of wood so as to trace the perimeter of a building. Looking up, he sees a Costanzo Lady with the Child in her arms raised high on the perimeter marked by the dove, which, with a motherly smile, shows him the path. It can not be clearer sign of God's will! Therefore builds the church in that place as proof of his conversion and his love for the Virgin.
 
Erected the church and convent, is now a rush of pilgrims from all over to implore the protection and graces of Our Lady of Mercy. The austere life of the sisters in so much loneliness arouses the admiration and imitation of so many men and women who left everything, climb up here to dedicate himself totally to God
 
Costanzo centuples exercising his charity works of mercy to all those in need, and in a special way to convert sinners and that leads to love of the Lord. After a life so full of virtue and good works, now at more advanced ages, the Lord called him to the prize in the joy of a peaceful death. His body was buried near the high altar of the church of Conche, and is venerated by many believers and a source of many miracles. Currently we do not know how much truth there is in the account of tradition, but of course there is the construction of the convent and the church was consecrated in 1110 and 1116 by the Bishop Arimanno, staunch supporter of the reform of Pope Gregory VII.
 
The shrine soon became a center of lively piety and charity, standing next to a community of women probably under the Augustinian Rule. The flow of the faithful does not dim over the centuries, in 1465 and in 1467 the church was enriched with increasingly large and indulgences, in 1478 the building was restored by the addition of an aisle. To intensify the competition of the faithful contributes the discovery in 1481 of the relics of St. Costanzo then placed in the parish church of a ship, except one arm shown in the church he built in Conche. The cult of San Costanzo, however, does not obscure the devotion to Our Lady of Conche.
A document of Cardinal Ludovico Borgia Penitentiary, of 13 May 1510 attests to the frequent miracles and great crowds of the faithful: the graces received are attested by the numerous votive offerings on display in the Shrine. Extraordinary was the feast of 9 August 1959 which saw around the Bishop of Brescia about six thousand faithful.
 
But Our Lady of Conche is used more, both in the public calamities, such as in personal need, and always, a millennium from now, she welcomes all and consoles.
 
Don Mario Morra SDB
(1) Antonio Fappani: "Conche and his Holy One", Brescia, Tip. Squassina 1987.
Source: magazine "Mary Help of Christians", February 2006; www.donbosco-torino.it
 

http://www.mariadinazareth.it/www2005/apparizioni leggendarie/Apparizione Conche.htm

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