St Maria Goretti and the Madonna di Ipswich


While a student in Rome, I joined a group that visited the Shrine of the Madonna delle Grazie at Nettuno, which houses the crypt, altar and relics of St Maria Goretti. We had Mass at the altar pictured above. I found it a very moving visit because I already had a devotion to St Maria Goretti and it was wonderful to visit her shrine and hear about her from the Passionist Father who was looking after the sacristy.

If you don't already know the moving story of this young virgin martyr, there is a site dedicated to St Maria Goretti which will give you all the basic information, not only about the saint, but also the amazing story of the conversion of her attacker, Alessandro Serenelli. The site also has some good articles, for example Why St. Maria Goretti Was Canonized by James Likoudis. He tells us that the canonisation of St Maria Goretti in 1950 was attended by 200,000 people: at that time the largest number ever to attend such a ceremony. Here is a photo from the occasion:

Pope Pius XII canonising St Maria Goretti
I wrote briefly about St Maria Goretti in the post Fourteen flowers of pardon and I am glad to see that more than ten years on, the page of Prayers to St Maria Goretti that I linked to at the long discontinued blog "Letters from a young Catholic" is still there.

I called the Shine Madonna delle Grazie, but the statue of Our Lady venerated at the Shrine is also known as the Madonna di Ipswich on account of its having been brought from there in 1550 to escape the depradations of the first wave of iconoclasm in the English reformation. The ship carrying the statue was heading for Naples but was forced by a storm to land at Nettuno, which circumstance the sailors took as a sign of Our Lady's will. The Passionists have looked after the statue well.

La Madonna di Ipswich

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