A somewhat unexpected phenomenon is linked to the figure of the Saint of Montecalvo, Pompilio Pirrotti. Apparently, a wooden reproduction, belonging to his family and extraordinarily found after more than three centuries, as the saint had predicted, contains an extraordinary mystery. Also called Our Lady of the Abundance (Madonna dell’Abbondanza) of Montecalvo.
Who is Pompilio Pirrotti?
San Pompilio Maria Pirrotti, Piarist Father
Born in Montecalvo, in Campania, on 29 September 1710, Domenico Pirotti – son of a well-known lawyer from Benevento – changed his name to Pompilio Maria, entering, at the age of eighteen, in the order of the Piarists. In 1733 with the reputation of theologian and not yet a priest, he went to Turi (Bari), starting to teach of Literature and that of youth educator. According to the charism of the sons of St. Joseph Calasanzio, he exercised the apostolate in the Pious Schools in different regions of Italy. His educational activity was considered annoying towards the people, therefore he was slandered and expelled from the Kingdom of Naples. However, he returned to the city, where he was loved above all by the needy. Tireless preacher and a man of charity, he had a fervent Marian devotion. He died in 1766 and was canonized since 1934.
HISTORY OF THE BEAUTIFUL MOTHER
It seems that around the seventeenth century, an ancestor of Saint Pompilio had a vision of the Madonna asking for the construction of a chapel in her honor at the point where they would find five crosses and there to be venerated as Saint Mary of the Abundance (Santa Maria dellAbbondanza). The chapel seems to have been built and Our Lady, the “Mamma Bella” (Beautiful Mother) as the saint used to call her, was revered, at least until the 1702 earthquake, which saw it abandoned to insects, dust and humidity in an attic of the Pirrotti family. Until Saint Pompilio, still a child with the name Domenico, indicated it to his mother prophesying that it would be publicly venerated and although it had to wait about 300 years the prophecy finally came true and today it is a very popular sanctuary. But what is the reason for so much interest?
On 16 March 2001, a group of three wooden statues in worst condition were found in a walled basement of the birthplace of St. Pompilio Maria Pirrotti, in Montecalvo Irpino. Neither from archival documents, nor from anyone’s memory can be traced news of the concealment. The first floor of the Pirrotti Palace collapsed following the earthquake of 23 July 1930 and was never rebuilt.
The group of statues found were composed of a nursing Madonna with Child, a deacon saint and Our Lady of Sorrows of which only the face and hands have survived. Three crowns have been found with the simulacra.
After about a year from the discovery, the wooden group were sent to Rome for restoration and it is precisely on this occasion that we see inside the right eye of the Virgin a three-dimensional figure similar to a skull that does not seem to be traced back by handmade and for some it seems to be the image of Christ in the one on the left, a phenomenon that recalls in a very similar way to what has been found about Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. There are many pilgrims who still flock today to entrust themselves to this very special Madonna, kept since April 25, 2002 in the Carafa Chapel of the Mother Church …
San Pompilio had a great love for Our Lady, and he was equally devoted to the souls of purgatory. It is said that he spoke with the deceased and that the skulls preserved in the crypt of the Neapolitan Church of Santa Maria del Caravaggio in Piazza Dante also participated in the recitation of the Rosary.
Ufficial website – http://www.sanpompilio.it