The Miracle Hunter  

Lenola, Italy (1602)


Traditionally Approved

40 - 999 1400 - 1499
1000 - 1099 1500 - 1599
1100 - 1199 1600 - 1699
1200 - 1299 1700 - 1799
1300 - 1399 1800 - 1899

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Radiant dawn broke, after thirteen centuries, the night of September 15, 1602. The instrumental cause chosen by "He who moves all things" is a young man of 23 years: Gabriel Mattei, born in Lenox in 1579. Orphaned as parents, lives with his only sister, is a handsome young man, handsome, proud and licentious character. On the afternoon of September 14, 1602, along with two other friends, went on the hill of Santa Croce, where once were crucified the condemned to death (hence the name of the Holy Cross). On that hill, when Lenox was a Roman colony of the tribe Emilia, in 319 BC, had erected a pagan temple, and after the advent of Christianity in 313 AD, was dedicated to the Holy Cross. And 'in the Church, rebuilt in its construction, has a rich heritage, as shown by the records of 1400, that exist in the Sanctuary of the Hill, that the Sept. 14, the liturgical feast of the Holy Cross, we were celebrating Vespers solemn. Gabriel and his two friends, in front of the Church, they began to disrupt the function, a Christian elder went out and rebuked them strongly. The trio thugs walked away cursing and railing against the man who had dared to take them back. The fact did not end there, because the three decided to kill him in the awkward night.

Gabriel fell to accomplish the murder.

Let friends, Gabriel enters the house, and 'nervous, argues with his sister, not dinner, goes to sleep, but not asleep, it is agitated. At night he gets up, takes her beloved calascione (guitar) of which was a mighty player, leaves home and goes to a small path on the outskirts of the village, in the moonlight. He sits on a stone and began to touch the strings of the guitar, with the hope that the harmonious sound of the instrument would bring the inner peace and serenity. But touches and retouches, the strings do not emit any harmonic modulation. Try not to accord you can, it sounds the instrument and 'shrill, discordant, disharmonious as was his spirit.

Nervous and desperate blasphemy, throws away the guitar and invokes the genius of evil, the devil. To tell your friends first, and then the Bishop Giambattista Comparini Gabriel is the same: "To my invocation and 'appeared before me a monstrous hell ; scared I made ??the sign of the cross and I invoked the help of Our Lady, I was about to escape, when a bright light, a heavenly voice said to me:

"Stop, do not worry, you called me! Converts, climb this hill, you will find my picture, I want you to build a temple, and the day of Consecration will shine for ever witness a miracle that my presence in your country" .

The ghignoso Gabriel, became meek ??lamb, does not come into the house is sheltered in the Parish Church of St. John the Evangelist, which is closed, sits on the doorstep, waiting to open it and go to pray before the image of the Madonna. His presence in church, at that early hour, hardly surprising among the faithful. After the prayer we went to the parish priest to ask his spiritual rebirth through confession. Reborn by the grace of the Holy Spirit, the new man, goes to the appointment, set the previous evening with friends.

The impact of these is different from that of other days, because Gabriel is no longer bold, is calm, gentle, serene and sweet to see, so much changed, friends are puzzled, and their question, "You killed him ? "Gabriel said in a voice sweet and dim them what had happened in the night.

They do not believe his story accused of being a visionary, a coward and a liar. Gabriel, who had to have ascendancy over them invites them to go with him to find the image of Our Lady: If this does not come true, they might even kill him.

They were convinced, and each went home to obtain the necessary tools for the job to be done. All three are headed for the steep rise, making their way through brambles and bushes. The work lasted for several hours without logging results, tired and disappointed they stopped. Encouraged by Gabriel, trusting the words of Madonna, began to work when their eyes appeared the silhouette of an old ruin covered with ivy and brambles, under the green canopy of an age-old cypress. They approached, I cleared brambles, ivy and moss, and their eyes appeared the image of the Virgin and Child, painted on the wall, dripping blood from his lower lip.

At the sight of this prodigy kneel, pray and weep with joyous emotion. Simultaneously with the miracle took place on the Hill, another one takes place between the walls of the village, when a group of children walking about the streets announcing to everyone: "On the Hill has been found the picture of Mary on the Hill Let's go."

Event announcement made ??by the children, believed many people of every class, who came on the Hill: they saw the miracle of the Virgin and Child, which was dripping blood from his lower lip. After praying and talking to Gabriel and two friends, travel ridiscesero in the country to tell what they saw with their own eyes. The news, sparsasi among the people, reached the ears of the Bishop of Funds, Bishop John the Baptist, who was in Lenola Comparini to consecrate the new parish church. He called the religious and civil authorities, he asked them to go on the hill to see for themselves what had really happened.

They spoke with the three protagonists of the finding and informed the bishop about the veracity of the event. Then Bishop Comparini after listening to three young, first individually, then together, under oath, he invited them to tell what happened and made ??them sign a document. On 15 September 1602, the Archbishop, accompanied by clergy, civil authorities and people , went in procession on the hill lucky. The Bishop came to the Image, saw her lower lip still wet with blood and, after having venerated, makes this the Reconnaissance prescribed by the Council of Trent. Extracted a handkerchief wiped the lip of the Madonna swollen with blood. The blood-stained handkerchief he showed to the people who shouted: "Long live Mary," and chanted the Litany of Loreto. Under the right hand affixed the seal of the canonical recognition of the future survey, which can still be admired today. So urges the religious authorities, civilians and the people as soon as possible to build a log cabin to protect the Effigy, waiting to build the time required by the Virgin Mary to Gabriel that will be called the "Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Hill".

At dawn on September 16, 1602, the Hill is alive with Maria chosen by the people, who came also from neighboring countries where the good news had come. Gabriel and friends are present. It breaks down the age-old cypress tree that for centuries, with its rich green foliage and had in some way protected, by intemperance, the image of the Virgin. Gabriel has an inspiration: from the branches of the cypress tree off the berries and preserves , while other stones and earth shall break the bank for the construction of the hut. Everyone feels involved. Built the hut, light a candle and all descendants, it is already night! The reborn Gabriel back into the house, does not sleep, think about the request made ??to him by Our Lady: "I want you to build a temple," How do? Where to find the necessary means if the population of Lenola and just 1200 inhabitants. Gabriel is not discouraged, by the grace of the Holy Spirit has a brilliant idea: to become a pilgrim of Mary, along the streets of the world, narrating his conversion and desire Asked by Madonna. Before embarking on the perilous pilgrimage down to talk to the Bishop Comparini who not only listens, but encourages and blesses him. Full of enthusiasm, Gabriel sets for the spring of 1603 the date of his pilgrimage.

Gabriel dressed in the habit, it fill the pockets of cypress berries, threw a bag on his shoulders and went out, not without first having advised the villagers to pave the good ones while the top of the hill. Before leaving, however, had his portrait painted by artist Andrew Coti of Catania, the image of the Madonna that he brought with him as an emblem. walked across the province, then here it is in Naples, where an infusion of cypress berries cured a young man of noble family Stigliano. knocked at every door and presented with "Deo Gratias "Then from which it derived the name" Fra 'Deo Gratis ", with whom he has passed into history. traverses the whole of Italy crosses the Alps, went to France. Spain, in Portugal. The pilgrimage lasts three years. Load wealth returns to Italy. In Rome, the last result was miraculous intervention of his pilgrimage.

At the Church of St. Ignatius Jesuit Taglietti lived a noble family. Their son was blind. Gabriel heals him with the simple flushing eyes with the infusion of cypress berries. Gabriel returns to Lenox, where they have already started work on leveling the sanctuary, full of riches. It has the pleasant surprise of finding a large supply of family Stigliano in Naples and an even more conspicuous of the family personally bring Taglietti of Rome by the Jesuit Father Peter Venzi. the erection of the temple is now assured.

The first stone was laid on May 7, 1607 and September 10, 1610 who immediately called the Sanctuary of "Madonna of the Hill" opened to the veneration of the faithful. In 1618 it was enlarged in 1620 was built in and annexed the diocesan seminary. The proclamation of the sanctuary took place in 1626 with a splash of Urban VIII. On December 3, 1656 Among Deo Gratias, who had devoted his life to the Sanctuary and where humble lived by the bell, fell stabbed by three wretched, there, on the threshold of his sanctuary . You knew a few days later, on December 8 during the procession in honor of the Immaculate Conception. For a window, a woman explained the bloody shirt of Gabriel, who had been taken before his burial. A cry of anguish: the murderers were there in the crowd and the sight confessed their absurd, inexplicable crime for which they were tried and executed You know their names. But it's worth repeating? Three foolish, a crime punished by men for almost sacrilegious.

Maybe it was written that there, where many Christians were martyred, even among free Deo was himself martyred, had 77 years. Now rest in the sanctuary, which he raised in atonement for his errors in burden and glory of the Mother of Jesus.

A team of researchers, following a careful analysis performed on the prodigious cypress seats on the front of the Sanctuary, arrives at the following conclusions:

"From the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Major Dr. Siciliani, the captain and other Dott.Mori year 1952, after finding, visually and de facto, the bases of cypress green Troncal, places on the hard stone, without land, thinking they were hybrids, some berries detached, to see if they were breeding. The extracts seeds were planted at the School of Forestry and Latin seedlings bore them. So they are neither mummified nor hybrid, but reproductive. " In 1976, surveys were carried out by other scholars botanists of England, accompanied by priests. From Brazil were other experts, as informed by Cardinal Neves, archbishop of Bach, who was to venerate the Virgin of the Hill October 15, 1987 and, as I recall, he wanted to bring a berry cypresses. Still others were. From the Institute of Forestry Science of Florence and were even from Cairo to examine the plants prodigious. All have been left wondering how those two branches of cypress, resting on a ledge of hard rock, limestone, taproot of the plant need for support, 365 years of lush vegetation, evergreen, producing fresh berries every year.

No one has been able to provide a scientific explanation. The presence of two vegetative branches of cypress are to witness the promise made ??to Our Lady of the young visionary, Gabriel Mattei, on the night of September 15, 1602, as recounted in the Dominican Father Antonio M. Baptist in the year 1683: "When will consecrate the temple in my honor, I will shine a prodigy who will testify, my presence for ever."
This will be the miracle promised by Our Lady? The Sanctuary has a feature that is considered, and perhaps it is of supernatural origin: on the cornice of the facade in place nearly symmetrical, there are two cypresses.

When the 8 September 1628 the Sanctuary was inaugurated, adorned the facade of the temple with garlands of laurel and myrtle and the cornice were nailed various branches of cypress. A few days later, while he proceeded to remove the decorations from the front, it was found that two of the branches of cypress had taken on the cornice of travertine around the same compact, fresh lime, without a speck of land. A miracle?

There are other monuments in the period on which more or less distant trees and plants have grown even in trees. But you were born a few seeds on the wind, finding some old cracks or small ravine, the umus to take root and grow. However, for over three centuries the only cypress there: do not grow, do not dry, evergreen remember if nothing else, the day of the inauguration of the Sanctuary.



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