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Madonna del Soccorso, Sant'Agata Feltria, Rimini, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Commemorated on First Sunday Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven
Madonna del Soccorso, Sant'Agata Feltria, Rimini, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
The Sanctuary of the Madonna of Rescue stands isolated on the high plain between Monte Ercole and the town of Sant'Agata in central Italy, about 25 miles from the Adriatic Sea. Local tradition holds that an earlier chapel there marked the place where the Virgin helped defeat an invading army. Perhaps the simple Romanesque style of the present church, built around 1520, reflects that of the former chapel. At that time, devotion to the Madonna del Soccorso had spread from Sicily throughout Italy. The Sanctuary's altarpiece depicts a story that took place in Palermo in 1306, although local tradition has moved the apparition to a site near this chapel. A young mother, impatient with her child, cries, "To the devil with you!" A demon appears and threatens the boy, but a radiant woman saves him. The mother and child give thanks in church, where they recognize the radiant woman in a fresco of the Madonna. The original painting was stolen in the 1970s; the present image is a copy commissioned from local artist Alpico Prosperi. Another miracle story, unique to Sant'Agata, involved a woman who invoked the Madonna del Soccorso when her jealous lover shot her in the breast. The unharmed woman's velvet corset with the bullet hole is on display in the chapel. The shrine became a regional place of pilgrimage, especially by fishermen thankful for Our Lady's help at sea. Her annual festa on the Sunday before Assumption Day now includes a Blessing of Automobiles.   
 
 
 
Sources:
 
"Agosto," Comunità Montana Alta Valmarecchia, www.cm-novafeltria.ps.it/index.php?id=10749
"madonna del soccorso san biagio ravenna," Facebook, www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=117812383518
Paolo Venturi, "Giro Marche 2008 - Pennabilli/Bertinoro, Flickr - Photo Sharing!, www.flickr.com/photos/paolo_venturi/2797410860/ (picture)
Sant'Agata Feltria, www.santagatafeltria.info/html/5chiese_e_conventi.htm 

http://www.wherewewalked.info/feasts/08-August/08-15.htm 

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