OUR LADY OF POMPEII

The ruins of Pompeii are well known all over the world. Pompeii, an ancient city of Southern Italy, is located in the Bay of Naples, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius which erupted, covering the city with hot, bubbling lava, and burying it under cinder and ashes. The long-forgotten site was rediscovered in 1748 and has been sporadically excavated since. The story of Our Lady's shrine here is simple and beautiful. Bartolo Longo, husband of a Neapolitan Countess, arrived in Pompeii to sell the family property toward the end of the nineteenth century. A Catholic in name only, he had allowed himself to become involved with spiritualism, and was at that time enduring a struggle to retain his grip on the Faith. The crisis of his life occurred on October 9th. Walking through the ruins, he heard a distant voice speaking to him: "If you seek salvation, promulgate the Rosary. This is Mary's own promise." Deeply moved by this heavenly message, Bartolo fell on his knees and made a promise to spread the Rosary far and near. His first attempt failed miserably; the handful who came could not understand the erudite preacher he had engaged. He realized that simple folk needed a visual aid. Bartolo went to Naples to look for a picture of Our Lady of the Rosary. Unable to buy an expeve one, he settled for a cheap, dilapidated second-hand copy, entrusting it to a peasant who hauled it to Pompeii atop a manure cart! But see how Our Lady works through such humble means. Pilgrims came and miracles were reported. A beautiful basilica was begun in 1876. Pope Leo XIII, Pius X, and Pius XI cherished a great devotion to Our Lady of Pompeii.

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