Thursday, October 21, 2010


History of the Madonna Del Roseto

The abbey stands majestically. Protecting the small village and the green mountains which rise at the shoulders of Solopaca. The abbey has long been revered as the spiritual life of the people. It was built in such a way that each morning it would be lit by the rays of the rising sun, and each evening the facade would be bathed from the rays of the setting sun. This is the abbey which houses the statue of the Madonna Del Roseto.

The history of the abbey itself dates as far back as 1214 A.D. Throughout its existence, multiple natural disasters, including earthquakes, caused severe damage to the abbey. Each time, the people from the small village of Solopaca would rebuild the abbey. On June 5th, 1805, a massive earthquake almost completely destroyed the abbey. Miraculously, the alter and the statue of the Madonna were left intact. The statue of the Madonna was then carried for the first time on the shoulders of the people down the mountain into Solopaca, where she would be housed in the church of St. Mauro. As years went by, the statue was neglected, but Mary's love for her people never ended.

In 1844, the celestial virgin once more showed her love for the people of Solopaca. The village was in the midst of a great drought. Wheat fields struggled in the sun, well dried up, and water in general was all but non-existent. The people turned to the Madonna Del Roseto for help. They carried the statue in a procession back to the top of the sacred mountain in May, the month dedicated to Mary. The people arrived at the ruins of the abbey, and placed the statue of the Madonna on what remained of the alter. The people prayed and made a solemn vow to rebuild the destroyed abbey if she, through her Son, would grant an end to the drought that had plagued Solopaca. After expressing such a vow with open hearts, the villagers began to bring the statue back down the mountain. During the descent, the villagers' gaze ascended to the skies. They noticed the closer that returned to the village, the larger and darker the clouds became. It was close to noon when a small wind began to blow. With the name of Mary on their lips, and the statue on their shoulders, the people hurried back to Solopaca. No sooner did the Madonna reach the alter at St. Mauro's, the skies opened up and a torrential down pour swept through the valley. The drought had ended. The harvest, as told to us by our elders, had never been better. The villagers were in reverence of the Madonna. As promised, the church was rebuilt. The Madonna was once again returned to the Abbey of Roseto.

Since that time, in commemoration of Mary's love for her people, the Madonna is carried on the shoulders of the faithful in a procession down the mountain into the town on the first Sunday in June. A feast is also celebrated in her honor. Subsequently, on the first Sunday in September, she is carried back to the Abbey of Roseto where she can watch over the village of Solopaca.

Since then, people from Solopaca have immigrated to the United States.To maintain their tradition for Mary, they decided to install a replica of the Madonna in their new land. The Madonna Del Roseto was installed in the Saint Michael of the Saints parish in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1938. It took several years and sacrifice by this group of Italian immigrants to raise enough money to install the replica of the Madonna. The traditions associated with the Madonna continue to be observed the first Sunday of June annually. The Madonna currently resides in Our Lady of Calvary Church, where favors in her name are still being received.

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