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The Catholic Defender: Our Lady of Pompeii

May 8th is the feast of Our Lady of Pompeii, or La Madonna di Pompei.

The history behind Our Lady of Pompeii is quite rich and fascinating.  The image of Our Lady of Pompeii is widely known thanks, in part, to Blessed Bartolo Longo who is the perfect example of a sinner made into an (almost!) saint.

Bartolo Longo, who is also known as the “Man of the Madonna” and the “Apostle of the Rosary,” lived in Naples, Italy in the 19th century.  While he was raised Catholic, he fell away from the faith while in college and became a “priest of Satan.”  

Eventually Bartolo came back to the Catholic faith and with the help of his friend, a Dominican priest, Bartolo developed a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary.  After visiting Pompeii and seeing its poverty and lack of faith he heard a voice say to him “if you seek salvation, you must promote the rosary.”   

He listened and began to spread the Catholic faith in Pompeii by establishing a “Confraternity of the Rosary” and teaching people how to pray the Rosary.  Bartolo sought out a painting of Our Lady so that people could gather before it while praying.   He was given an old canvas with the image of Our Lady of the Rosary by a convent.  Bartolo had it restored due to its poor quality.    The image shows our Lady holding baby Jesus as they present rosaries to Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena.

After it was restored in 1875 (one of the many times) it was displayed to the public for veneration.  The same day it was displayed a 12-year old girl, Clorinda Lucarelli, received the first miracle through the intercession of Our Lady of Pompeii.  Then, in 1884, another miracle occurred where a terminally ill young girl named Fortunatina was healed.  The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the young girl and said, “When you call Me by the name of the Queen of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii, which is closer to Me than all the others, I cannot reject you.”

Prayer to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii​

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

O August Queen of Victories, O Sovereign of Heaven and Earth, at whose name the heavens rejoice and the abyss trembles.   O Glorious Queen of the Rosary, we your devoted children, assembled in your Temple of Pompeii, pour out the affection of our heart and with filial confidence express our miseries to You. 

From the Throne of clemency where You are seated as Queen, turn, O Mary, your merciful gaze on us, on our families, on Italy, on Europe, on the whole world.   Have compassion on the sorrow and cares  which embitter our lives. See, O Mother, how many dangers of body and soul, how many calamities and afflictions press upon us. 

O Mother, implore for us the mercy of your Divine Son and conquer with clemency the hearts of sinners.  They are our brothers and your children who cause the heart of our sweet Jesus to bleed and who sadden your most sensitive Heart.   Show all what you are, the Queen of Peace and of Pardon.


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