FIFTEEN HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF MENTORELLA

FIFTEEN HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF MENTORELLA  

Around fifty kilometers from Rome, at the summit of Mount Guadagnolo which overlooks the Valle del Giovenzano, rises the evocative shrine of Our Lady of Mentorella, considered the oldest in Italy dedicated to Our Lady of Graces. Tradition holds that it was built by the emperor Constantine with the permission of Pope Silvester who later consecrated it. He built the structure over the place believed to be the site where Placidus, a Roman general who served under Trajan, had his conversion. Remembered as one of the first Christian martyrs, he later became known as Saint Eustachius. The Benedictines administered the Shrine until the 15th century, after which it was abandoned until Fr. Athanasius Kircher sought and obtained help from various European rulers to pay for its restoration. In 1857 care of the shrine was entrusted to the Congregation of the Resurrection, whose Polish members administer the shrine today. The place was very dear to John Paul II who as Pope made it the destination of his first official visit outside Rome on 29 October 1978. During his pontificate he also made numerous other pilgrimages there in private. Following in the footstops of his venerable predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Shrine and celebrated Mass there 27 years later on the same day. For the victims of the Earthquake in Haiti The Governatorato of the Vatican City State in order to give concrete support to the Haitian population, struck by a devastating earthquake on January 12 2010, decided to overprint with € 0,20 the philatelic set dedicated to the “1500th Anniversary of the foundation of the Shrine Mother of Graces of Mentorella”. The proceeds of this initiative will be donated to the populations struck by the shock.