The church of St. Clare in Rimini was built in the 14th century by the Poor Clares who lived in the adjacent monastery of St. Mary of the Angels. The Rimini painter Giuseppe Soleri in 1796 painted the image of the Madonna della Misericordia (Our Lady of Mercy) in oil on canvas and gave it as a gift to his sister, a Poor Clare nun, Sister Chiara. In 1810 the painting was placed on the high altar of the church of Santa Chiara. In 1824, both the small church of St. Clare and a part of the suppressed monastery of the Poor Clares were donated by the Bishop of Rimini to St. Gaspare del Bufalo, Founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, to establish a community of his priests and enrich the population of the city and the countryside with their apostolic ministry. They still officiate the Shrine today.
THE PRODIGIOUS FACT
A prodigious event occurred in the Shrine on the evening of 11 May 1850, the image of the Merciful Madonna blinked. On the consecutive day the news spread throughout the city and beyond. The miracle was repeated, at intervals, for eight consecutive months, causing change of life and profound conversions in the faithful who flocked to pray to her. The pupils of the sacred image rose towards the sky and lowered themselves on the faithful. Sometimes they were shining like stars, sometimes they veiled in tears. Her face, sometimes rosy, turned pale when she lowered her eyes.
The diocesan Bishop of the time, Msgr. Salvatore Leziroli, also urged by Pope Pius IX, to give the fact an irrefutable historical certainty, ordered a official process. Cardinals, bishops, illustrious men of science and common faithful: all agreed on the reality of the prodigy.
Mary as Our Lady of Mercy became the patron saint of the city and diocese of Rimini. May 12 is the day of the festival; on the 12th of each month, in memory of the miracle, Holy Masses are celebrated with festive schedule.
The current temple was built in just six months, from May 17 to November 17, 1850, with the offerings of the faithful, by the Rimini architect Giovanni Benedettini, to replace the pre-existing church, which had become too small for the large influx of faithful .
The marble and faux marble ornaments, the designs that adorn the internal walls were made in 1874, under the direction of the Rimini painter Giuseppe Ravegnani, by Bolognese artists. The figures are the work of Guglielmo Bilancioni, the best painter from Rimini in the nineteenth century. The apse basin was painted by Secchi, from Milan, in 1958.
The construction of the prestigious organ of the Tamburini di Crema company, consisting of about 2000 pipes, is also from that period. The image of Our Lady dominates the bottom of the apse, surrounded by a golden wooden sunburst in which two angels support the artistic frame in gold, silver and precious stones, containing the canvas, a gift from Pope Pius IX. He himself wanted her to be crowned on August 15, 1850.
In the last chapel on the left there is a plaque placed in the exact place where the famous prodigy took place. An altar is dedicated to San Gaspare del Bufalo, founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, in which a reliquary with some relics of the saint is kept. On the arches of the side chapels four episodes of the life of Our Lady are reproduced, the work of Francesco Bricci.
THANKSGIVING PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF MERCY
Mother of Mercy, image of goodness, of your faithful in tears one day you had mercy.
Ave, ave Maria!
Mother of all believers, invoke Jesus for us: turn your shining eyes upon those who turn to you.
Ave, ave Maria!
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Missionaries of the Precious Blood – Address: Via Santa Chiara, 28- Tel. 05188.8.131.52 – Diocesi: Rimini. – Calendario: 12 maggio, anniversario del miracolo. – Note: Accoglienza per sacerdoti, religiosi e giovani in cerca di vocazione.
Sito Ufficiale del Santuario – http://www.madonnamisericordiarimini.it/.