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Santa Maria della Croce, Crema, Cremona, Lombardy, Italy

Commemorated on April 3
Santa Maria della Croce, Crema, Cremona, Lombardy, Italy
A good girl, named Caterina Uberti, left soon lost both of her parents, is under the protection of his brother Christopher. His only joy is the devotion to Our Lady to whom he dedicates all the affection that he wanted to turn his earthly mother. It no longer feels so alone and abandoned, and every day while reciting the Crown, feel the sweetness of a loving presence. 
His brother Christopher combines for her marriage to a young Bergamo, Petrobelli certain Bartolomeo, said Contaglio, merchant too, of honorable family, but impetuous nature, expelled from his native town for murder. Contrasting fortunes for the dowry, Catherine initially remains in the home of his brother, while the groom continually restless traveling for business or whims. On the evening of April 3, 1490 Bartholomew comes suddenly from Bergamo, at least so sure, says he was then acquitted and freed by the call, and demands that Catherine collect his most precious things and follow it immediately with his family. Starting at that time and in that way it's crazy, but he is in the throes of such feverish impatience that Catherine intimidated dare not refuse. By the will of him, Catherine leaves the house and is waiting for him outside the door Ripalta, where Bartholomew arrives on horseback. From there, instead of taking the shortest route through the city to reach the road Bergamo coming out the other side, he prefers to go around the outside of the walls. Meanwhile, it is night and the gates are closed. Once in the twilight of Novelletto the woods, about a mile from Crema, Bartholomew dismounts, ties him to a tree, it drops the bride, snatches the gold rings and comes from its sheath the sword he carries with self, the attacks aiming at the head. Fall on your knees, Catherine raises his arms to defend himself, but a hand is cut off, broke my elbow, the other arm broken, three strikes violent reach the head now defenseless. Suddenly the sword breaks, the brute and throws it away, leaving the unhappy in a pool of blood, untie the horse and runs away into the night. 
In the deep silence of the forest, exhausted by fourteen severe wounds and scared to death, Catherine turns to Mary: "O blessed Mother, help me." Feeling that life escapes, with a faint voice, more and more dim, he continues to repeat the invocation to the Virgin Mary. At a certain moment a shudder shakes and almost foreseeing a mysterious presence, barely opens his eyes. A suffused glow in the darkness reveals the figure of a woman with a dignified bearing. The sweet face, her eyes full of compassion, with a firm voice the orders: "Arise, my daughter and do not doubt." At the heart of Catherine languishing returns a mild heat. With all your soul fixes his eyes on the figure of a woman and instinctively asks, "Who are you?". The stranger replied: "I am the one you call. Arise and follow me without fear. " 
Caterina is located, does not know how, standing and able to walk. As in a dream obeys the command and follows the Unknown. They come out of the woods, following the trail for about a quarter mile and arrive at the first house, the farmstead of Samanni. The Unknown Woman knocks at the door, called in a clear voice, smiling at Catherine, and while the house wakes up, vanishes. 
Open the door, the inhabitants of the house are faced with a horrifying figure: Blood trickles down from head to hide his face and soaking his clothes, hand hangs limp from a broken arm, the other no longer exists, only the stump is raises horrible to beg for mercy. Who is at that hour of the night? In that state? A woman of the underworld? "Do not be afraid - says the unfortunate - are Catherine, daughter of Bartolomeo degli Uberti. " The well-known name of an honored citizen, the Samanni retire, making its way to the wound that has dragged on since the porch where it breaks down. Rush the other members of the family, introduced in the barn where, lying on straw, Catherine faints. How to help her, at that hour of the night, without the help of a doctor? With the water wash your face and slightly wounds. Catherine opens her eyes, asks for a drink and slowly regains consciousness. It makes, however, realize that life escapes and is about to die, and then softly calls "blessed Virgin! Holy Mother! Save me yet, so do not let me die without the Sacraments of the Church. Let me live until the day, that it may be a priest. Holy Mother, help me. " The bystanders keep it stunned and you lay the first questions: who was this woman out of the city at that hour? Who has decreased in that state? Who knocked on their door that shot so energetic, if she's not your hand? While the look and whisper so intrigued, they realize that the blood stops its flow, the wounds dry and the face takes up the serenity and color of health. Filled with wonder and reverence they gather around her, and Catherine with serene face and clear voice matches their natural curiosity by telling his story, and then falls asleep quiet. 
At dawn Catherine is brought to the city where, prior to the care of a physician, she insists on having the priest who confesses and administers the sacraments. The judge told all that had happened and hearts forgive his murderess. Meanwhile, back in the wounds bleed ... blood comes out in spurts. It is as pale as wax, but on his face there is a great light. He closes his eyes and dies. Our Lady answered her prayer. 
People discuss, we talk about a miracle, but many are indifferent and those who deny any extraordinary event. Meanwhile, in the woods of Novelletto is given a rough wooden cross to mark the place of the murder. A month later, an eleven year old boy afflicted with a fistula in his left foot, upon hearing of the facts of Novelletto, urges the mother to be conducted there and ask for the grace of healing to the Madonna. To oblige the mother accompanies him right on 3rd May, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. When he reached the place, the boy kneels at the foot of the wooden cross that marks the site of the crime, and pray with great confidence: "If Mary heard the petition of Catherine, and I also listen to my heal." Time passes in an anxious wait, especially for the mother, but suddenly with a cry of joy, the boy runs into his arms, "Mom are healed" and the hangers remain at the foot of the Madonna croce.1 For this will be honored with the sweet name of Saint Mary of the Cross. 
Many other extraordinary events will follow this first miracle and will attract devotees from all sides. 
Don Mario Morra SDB
1 Stained glass window of the Sanctuary, which describes the encounter between Mary and Catherine / 
2 Image of Our Lady of the Shrine of Cream
1 W. Gregory de Terni, The wonderful story of Santa Maria della Croce, Crema 1954.



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