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Queen of the Rosary, Pompei, Naples, Campania, Italy

Commemorated on March 3, May 8
Queen of the Rosary, Pompei, Naples, Campania, Italy Bl. Bartolo Longo founded the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary and enshrined a miraculous image there. Many healings have ensued including one involving Fortuna Agrelli. The Virgin appeared as the Queen of the Rosary on March 3, 1884 to Fortuna Agrelli after she and her parents had prayed for her recovery from an illness. The girl was healed on May 8 of that year.

History

Timeline
 
Aug 24, 79
 
Pompeii was destroyed when nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered the city in molten lava.
 
ca. 300
 
In the fourth century, Christians settled in the area. Early records indicate that a large church dedicated to the Most Holy Savior was erected there.
 
ca. 1000
 
The church there was entrusted to the care of the Benedictines. In time, the church was destroyed and a small chapel built on the site. The lands were eventually ceded to a Neapolitan noble who allowed the property to deteriorate. Local inhabitants acquired the right of patronage, and Valle di Pompeii became one of eighteen parishes in Italy where the priest was elected by the people.
 
1841
 
Bartolo Longo was born the son of a doctor in near Brindisi, on Italy's Adriatic coast. He became an easygoing, intelligent man devoted to the Church.
 
 
Bartolo went through a crisis of faith in his university years as he studied to be lawyer, where he joined a sect and was ordained as a priest of Satan. He publicly ridiculed Christianity and did all in his power to subvert Catholic influence.
 
 
 
A good friend, Vincent Pede, eventually showed Bartolo the gentleness of Christ and arranged for him to meet a saintly Dominican priest, Alberto Radente. The Dominican had a deep, personal devotion to Mary and fostered the devotion of the rosary.
 
When Bartolo Longo was baptized, he chose the second name, Maria, to be his baptismal name. He saw Mary as a 'Refuge of Sinners' and attributed his miraculous conversion to her. She was the 'Refuge' who would lead him to Christ. After his conversion, Bartolo Maria Longo wanted to do penance for his past life and serve the Church he had so viciously slandered. He made a promise to work for the poor and destitute. He also published a pamphlet entitled, The Rosary of New Pompeii and did all in his power to spread the devotion.
 
One evening, as he walked near the ruined rat- and lizard-infested chapel at Pompeii, he had a profound mystical experience. He wrote:
 
As I pondered over my condition, I experienced a deep sense of despair and almost committed suicide. Then I heard an echo in my ear of the voice of Friar Alberto repeating the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "If you seek salvation, promulgate the Rosary. This is Mary's own promise." These words illumined my soul. I went on my knees. "If it is true ... I will not leave this valley until I have propagated your Rosary."
 
1872
 
When he arrived in Pompeii to administer the property of a wealthy widow, the Countess Marianna De Fusco, he was struck by the human and religious poverty of the local peasants. He dedicated himself to teaching the catechism and spreading devotion to the rosary, and he organized yearly festivals in the fall to bring people together for catechesis and to pray the rosary.
 
1873
 
Bartolo then sponsored a festival on the Feast of the Holy Rosary. His first effort failed. It rained, and the preacher spoke in classical Italian instead of the local dialect which the people understood.
 
1874
 
He tried the next year; he wasn't much more successful, but he had taught some of the people to pray the rosary.
 
1875
 
The third year, he invited the Redemptorist Fathers to hold a two-week mission. In preparation, he fully restored the little church. The mission, blessed by the bishop, was a successful revival. It was, in fact, the bishop who envisioned a large church and pilgrimage place in the future.
 
Feb 13, 1876
 
He thought, if the people had a proper church and, most especially, an image of Our Lady of the Rosary as the focal point, their hearts might be converted. Bartolo began searching the stores of Naples, and found and restored a painting, considered to be of dubious beauty and quality.
 
The only one he could afford was an oleograph on paper. At the time, church law required sacred images to be painted in oils on canvas or wood. He was told about a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary being kept in a convent that had been purchased in a junk shop for 3,40 Lire. Longo described it himself:
 
Not only was it worm-eaten, but the face of the Madonna was that of a coarse, rough country-woman ... a piece of canvas was missing just above her head ... her mantle was cracked. Nothing need be said of the hideousness of the other figures. St. Dominic looked like a street idiot. To Our Lady's left was a St. Rose. This I had changed later into a St. Catherine of Siena ... I hesitated whether to refuse the gift or to accept ... I took it. (Queen of the Valley by Martin A. Stillmock)
 
The image was too large to carry from Naples to Pompeii, but Bartolo finally found someone who would take it to the chapel for him. When it arrived, it was lying on a wagon of manure. An attempt was made by an amateur to restore it, and it was placed in the church on the day of the the foundation for the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary there.
 
1880
 
The famous Italian painter, Federico Madlarelli, offered to restore the image.
 
1883
 
The new shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary was completed. Within the month, miraculous events began to take place at the shrine. Four healings were recorded including that of Fortuna Agrelli (see below). From that time on, especially between 1891 and 1894, hundreds of miracles have been officially recorded at the sanctuary.
 
Bartolo appealed to the people:
 
In this place selected for its prodigies, we wish to leave to present and future generations a monument to the Queen of Victories that will be less unworthy of her greatness but more worthy of our faith and love.
 
Jan 1883
 
Fortuna Agrelli became ill with 3 separate incurable diseases and her doctors had given up on her case saying it was hopeless.
 
Oct 1883
 
A special devotion known as the Supplication to the Queen of Victories was begun on October 1883 and is recited all over the world, especially on May 8 and on the first Sunday in October. The devotion includes a request thought to have been given by Our Lady to one of the children healed at Pompeii, "Whoever desires favors of me should make three novenas of petition and three of thanksgiving."
 
Feb 16, 1884
 
She and her relatives began a novena of Rosaries for her recovery.
 
March 3 , 1884
 
The Blessed Mother appeared to Fortuna sitting on a high throne profusely decorated with flowers with the Infant Jesus on her lap. She held a Rosary in her hand and was accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. Our Lady and the Child were clad in gold-embroidered garments.
 
Fortuna petitioned Our Lady, "Queen of the Holy Rosary, be gracious to me, restore me to health." The Blessed Virgin replied, "You have invoked me by various titles and have always obtained favors from me. Now, since you have called me by the title so pleasing to me, 'Queen of the Holy Rosary,' I can no longer refuse the favor that you petition; for this name is most precious and dear to me. Make three novenas, and you will obtain all."
 
May 8, 1884
 
Fortuna was cured. Afterwards, Our Lady appeared again. This time she said, "Whosoever desires to obtain favors from me should make three novenas of the prayers of the Rosary in petition and three novenas in thanksgiving." 
1891
 
The neoclassical pontifical shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii, in all its frescoed, marble splendor, was dedicated sixteen years after Longo began to collect pennies from the peasants to build this temple to Mary.
 
1894
 
Bartolo and his wife, Countess Marianna Farnararo De Fusco, gave the new church to the papacy, in whose care the shrine has remained since. The image was crowned immediately after its enthronement on the inauguration day of the opening of the new shrine.
 
1926
 
Bartolo Longo died in 1926.
 
1934
 
The present structure of The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary 
was begun at the request of Pope Pius XI.
 
1965
 
The image was again finally restored by Vatican artists. In 1965, after the third restoration of the image, Pope Paul VI said the following during a homily: "Just as the image of the Virgin has been repaired and decorated, ... so may the image of Mary that all Christians must have within themselves be restored, renovated, and enriched." At the end of this solemn celebration, Pope Paul VI placed two new precious diadems on the heads of Jesus and Mary, crowns that had been offered by the people.
 
Oct 21, 1979
 
John Paul II first visited the shrine.
 
Oct. 26, 1980
 
John Paul II beatified the founder of the shrine, Bartolo Longo. His feast day is Oct. 6. Blessed Bartolo, a Third Order Dominican, founded the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii and he also established homes for the poor, for orphans and for the children of people in prison. He was called 'the man of the Madonna' and the 'Apostle of the Rosary'.
 
Oct 7, 2003
 
John Paul II made his second visit to Pompeii on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Description

The Blessed Mother appeared to Fortuna sitting on a high throne profusely decorated with flowers with the Infant Jesus on her lap. She held a Rosary in her hand and was accompanied by St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. Our Lady and the Child were clad in gold-embroidered garments.

Approval

John Paul II beatified the founder of the shrine, Bartolo Longo. His feast day is Oct. 6. Blessed Bartolo, a Third Order Dominican, founded the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii and he also established homes for the poor, for orphans and for the children of people in prison.
 
The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is May 8. 
 

Prayers

Rosary Novena
 
The Rosary Novena consists of praying five decades of the Rosary each day for twenty-seven days in petition, then immediately five decades each day for twenty-seven days in thanksgiving, whether or not the request has been granted.
 
Supplication to the Queen of Victories
 
A special devotion known as the Supplication to the Queen of Victories was begun on October 1883 and is recited all over the world, especially on May 8 and on the first Sunday in October. The devotion includes a request thought to have been given by Our Lady to one of the children healed at Pompeii, "Whoever desires favors of me should make three novenas of petition and three of thanksgiving."

Shrines

Resources

Additional information