A Brief History:
In the year of our Lord 1518, a few scattered houses broke the monotony of the Ruta valley, which was partly cultivated with olive groves and vineyards, and part was still covered by woods, one of which was beautiful and not vast, shaded in the valley. In the Grove, in fact, there were once chestnut trees, oaks and elms. Where the three pathways joined, there was a shrine with a fresco depicting the Madonna holding the Child Jesus. It is unknown how and who exposed and painted the image. In front of the shrine, there were few passers-by, mostly peasants, who stopped to say a prayer. Among the most assiduous, there was a twelve-year-old shepherd named Angela Schiaffino, who on the 2nd day of the month of July, as she often did, stopped to address a prayer before that painting. Absorbed in prayer, a beautiful Lady suddenly appeared to her, who manifested Her desire for Angela to be the interpreter of Her wishes. The Lady said to Angela that she had to tell the people that in this place a Church should be built. But she replied to the Lady that no one would believe her.
Then the Blessed Virgin made a sign on the palm of her hand, precisely an M that at the period was written in gothic character, which presented to the eyes of the people a resemblance with a horseshoe. The Lady also made the same carattere on a large stone that was near them, indicating the site where the Sanctuary and the Monastery should be built.
All the people of Camogli were grateful to the sweet Queen of Heaven, who not only once but many times in the history, broke with Her light the opaque shadows of the grove, which could well symbolize the darkness of our intellect, and sanctified with Her many apparitions on this earth. Oh, how She must rejoice in the smile of the just.
VIDEO PILGRIMAGE TO THE SANTUARY: (in Italian)
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF THE GROVE:
Augusta Queen of Heaven, Virgin Mary, Mother of God, because You liked to place among us the throne of Your Mercies, and You wanted the humble maiden Angiola Schiaffino the blessed messenger of Your designs, from the venerated Sanctuary that the piety of our ancestors erected, where you opened up to us a source of eternal grace, watch and protect Your dear Camogli, which has placed in you its trust, its joy, its boast. Grateful to the many benefits you have given us, prostrated at the foot of Your blessed altar, we pray to you again, O Mother, that each day more abundantly shower us with the treasures of Your tender Heart. May you implore benignly for our families blessings and peace, to our sailors favorable sea and winds, to our City prosperity and decorum, in the purity of our custom, in the ardor of our piety and in the perennial aspiration to the goods of heaven, where eternally you will make us blessed with your maternal smile. You who in the earth are in pain be there comfort, in the anxieties be there hope, in the dangers of the body and of the spirit, be there shelter and salvation. Amen.