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Madonna delle Grazie, Spezzano Albanese, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy

Commemorated on First Tuesday Easter
Madonna delle Grazie, Spezzano Albanese, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Around 1470, Albanians settled this area in the toe of the Italian boot. The town of Spezzano with its Sanctuary of Our Lady of Graces overlooks the plain below. The story goes that one day, when the village was still young, two Albanian boys were pasturing pigs near a waterfall. When one of them went to fill his jug at the falls, he saw the Madonna and Child surrounded by light. He called to his buddy, and together they admired the beautiful, still Madonna, wondering if she were of plaster or flesh. To settle the question, one of them prodded her with a stick, producing an effusion of blood that hit his face, blinding him. When he begged her pardon, she healed him, asking him to tell the priest that she wanted a chapel there. Enlarged and renovated over the centuries, the church built at Our Lady's request became a Diocesan Sanctuary, an official place of pilgrimage, in 1951. Behind the altar is a statue made of lime, clay, straw, and stones -- a seated Madonna with the Child on her right knee, probably of the 1300s. The festa of Our Lady of Graces begins on Easter. On Monday there is a blessing of tractors, a Byzantine mass, and a midnight mass. On Tuesday, the main feast day, the archbishop says the solemn mass, people carry the statue through the streets on their shoulders, and after a concluding mass, there is a display of fireworks. (Information and picture from the sanctuary's site, www.santuari.it/spezzano.)

Source
: http://www.wherewewalked.info/feasts/04-April/Easter_Tues.htm

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