Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Madonna is found

Welcome to our blog, Genzano it story
and this post, the Madonna is found
This is the real effigy of the Madonna that was found at Capodaqua fountain
in the year 1621, Anyhow this is how we the people of Genzano would see the Madonna effigy that is set high in the wall above the high altar in her own church. This effigy stays there all the time, so when every year we have a feast for this Madionna we use another Madonna statue.

This is the statue of the Madonna that we take around town, ween we celebrate this Madonna feast

The Madonna is found
In our last post of this Madonna story we said that the people that were trying to find the Madonna became tired and decided to build a chapel instead, as they were doing this some rocks fell from the chasm wall above, so, they decided to remove the fallen rocks and sort them out, so that they could use those rocks to build part of the chapel anyhow. And then it happened; it happened the 25th day of March 1621 late in the afternoon, it was about the time when in the church they say this afternoon prayer called Vespers, at this time of the day most people that are in the country would pack up to go home. But there was a worker working at the fallen stone heap, and although he was tired he felt that he wanted to do just a little bit more before he would turn in, so he kept working just a little bit extra: His name was ‘Giovanni Malatesta’ and he was digging with a pick to get the stones loose from the fallen heap of rocks, when he hit a very hard rock, and a beautiful aroma filled the air: he had struck with his pick the sculpture of the ‘Madonna with Child’. What a shock to this man must have been, when he realised that he struck with his pick the icon of the Madonna over the eye. They say that he never was the same man again from the shock, and it is said that he died early in his life not long after this event took place.
As soon as they realised that they had found the Madonna, somebody ran up the road to town, to let the people of Genzano know that they had finely found the Madonna icon, and the good news spread so fast, and most of the town’s folks went to see for themselves, even though it was already evening and it soon would be dark.
The whole town was in feast for a very long time afterward.
All the religious authorities were in due time advised about the finding of the Madonna icon, and they took part in the prescribed religious events that followed. A Chapel was built on the spot where they had found the Madonna, with the intention that one day they would build a church there. After they found the icon of the Madonna with Child many people came to adore this Madonna, they came from the surrounding towns and also from far away towns and they received so many miracles from this Madonna that would be even hard just to count their number.
Taking the Madonna to town
But there is still an extra story to tell about this Madonna, this story might be a bit out of the ordinary ways that normal things happen, and therefore today many people might not believe it, but then we have to think that here we are talking about Madonnas and therefore also miracles, we also have to keep in mind that the old people believed that it really happened, so let us tell you the story just the way it has been told and retold many times from the elders of the town.
The folklore story of this Madonna goes on to tell us, that while they were taking the Madonna effigy they had found at Capodaqua to the town church, of Maria SS Della Platea, which was the main church of the town, when they reached the entrance of the town, as you know in those times every town had their entrance doors that were shut at night to guard against thieves and assaults from outside, anyhow when they reached the entrance of the town the Madonna effigy became very heavy, it was so heavy that the bears had to stop and set the devise they were carrying the Madonna with on the ground.
Then when they tried to lift her off the ground again they could not lift her; so the priest and the town authorities started to think, why this was happening and what they could do to fix this unseen problem, some wise man started saying that perhaps the Madonna wanted to be recognized that she was a very powerful being, and to recognize her the best thing to do was to give her the keys of the town and hope that this was what the Madonna wanted, so somebody went to fetch the keys and placed the keys beside her effigy, and soon the effigy became light again and they were able to take her through the entrance of the town and then into the church. This is one of the folklore stories of this Madonna.
Now let me add this last bit to the story, I remember when I was young that at this same entrance the Madonna came into Genzano town the first time; sometimes would come some pilgrims to adore this Madonna with child, and they were bringing with them a little statue of a child, I don’t know exactly what all this meant, but there is a phrase in the Genzanese dialect “U bambnid d Frenz” meaning the little baby Jesus of Forenza; Forenza is a town that would take several hours to walk to reach Genzano, and they did all this walking to come and adore this Madonna, there were really believers in those old days.
The people of Genzano celebrate the feast of this Madonna every year and here is a link of the procession in the very old part of Genzano, I hope it works for you:
We will continue to tell the story of this Madonna in our next post, The Madonna church, see you soon.