In Arcola in the province of La Spezia, the Virgin Mary appeared above a sprig of rosemary to five little sisters while kneeling to recite the angelus in a grove.
HISTORY OF THE APPARITION
A constant of the Marian apparitions is that it occurs in moments of major crisis in human history so as to bring man back to the observance of the divine laws and to instill hope in the future. Another element is that it almost happens through children whose purity and innocence becomes an essential element for the authenticity and integrity of the messages transmitted.
Both of these conditions also materialized in the apparition of Our Lady in Arcola (La Spezia) on 21 May 1556, the feast of the Pentecost. And this last detail is also very significant, which occurred precisely on the day when the Descent of the Holy Spirit was celebrated, which renewed the outpouring of His grace all over the world. The marian apparition of Arcola took place while the work of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) was in full swing, which with its courageous reforms gave so much impulse to the birth of various ecclesial movements and new models of holiness, in a tormented village, like many others in Italy, from tribal rivalries and cyclical epidemics.
On the morning of Pentecost, therefore, Baldassare Fiamberti with his wife and their nine children had participated in religious services in the parish church of Arcola; at noon his five daughters (Barbara, Camilla, Elisabetta, Catarinetta and Angela) had gone to play in a nearby grove owned by the family, called “Carbonara”. At the ringing of the bell of the nearby convent of the Olivetan friars, the girls suspended the game and knelt for the recitation of the Angelus and in pious recollection, they prayed to the merciful God of the unhappy condition of the Church, the turmoil of the world, the desolation of their country, they pray, they implored the Blessed Virgin with the devout recitation of the Rosary. It was just then that a heavenly light envelops them. Astonished, they turned their gaze and on the crown of a rosemary plant they saw a majestic Lady, shining more than the sun, dressed in white, accompanied by two Angels, who to the beauty of the face, the sweetness of the ways, the superhuman splendor made the girls understand that they it was not an earthly character but the very Queen of Heaven herself.
Mary immediately reassured them, presenting herself as “Mother of Christ” and “Queen of the Angels”, and gave them this message:
“Do not be afraid, O daughters, I am Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Queen of Angels” and raising her hand: “Go, go, o beloved ones, tell the people that you pray and do penance; yes, go and preach prayer and penance. Your petitions have gone up to my heart, now it’s time to act: Go! Go!”
The Seers coming to themselves from such grace:
“But sweet Lady,” they replied, “we are ready for what you tell us, but we are not able to preach, we are not up to par.”
“Daughters, answered Mary: don’t fear, with my help you will find everything easy. Go and tell the good villagers again to build, in my honor, a temple in this place. “
And the Virgin rising up to Heaven, escorted by her Angels, slowly disappeared from the gaze of the fortunate ones, leaving them full of heavenly consolation and trust. Having recovered from the vision, they look astonished, stood up, and hurriedly reach their home; ecstatic talk about it to their loved ones, inform the parish priest, the villagers. An indescribable joy, a sure confidence runs in everyone’s soul: The country is safe. But the news expands in the valley, to neighboring and distant cities and from all Lunigiana and beyond, crowds of pilgrims and prayers and penitents set off to the Carbonara, where they found comfort, true peace, felt an internal renewal, that joy that is not of this world. Times are sad, there is hardship in families, but the people want to consent to the order of Our Lady and are preparing to build the temple in His honor.
Meanwhile, many graces confirm the blessing of Mary on this place and on those who listen to its teachings and, almost four and a half centuries later, popular devotion to Our Lady of the Angels is still very much alive in Arcola and its surroundings. To recount all the miracles performed there by the Blessed Virgin would be a work beyond human intellect. The afflicted are consoled, the unhappy are rescued, the sinner find peace, and there is not any physical or moral evil that torments miserable humanity which in this sacred place is not removed far from the faithful people by the work of that great Virgin who is Health of the sick, Hope of the desperate and Comforter of the afflicted.
The investigation process of the apparition was compiled by Msgr. Gio. Battista Bracelli, Bishop of Sarzana, and by the Congregation of Rites, the Sacred image of the Virgin was declared venerable and miraculous.
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS
O most holy Virgin Mary,
O, Lady of the Angels,
behold from your throne of mercy,
turn your kind gaze upon me, your unworthy servant.
Help me against the snares of the devil,
obtain for me a perfect and constant love
for your most beloved Son and to You,
who are my only hope after Him.
O my Queen and Mother,
behold, do not let such love ever fail in me,
but last until death,
after which I am led by you to the homeland of the Blessed.
(Seven Hail Marys).
To those who visit the Church of Our Lady of the Angels in Arcola and there recites devoutly the aforementioned prayer with the addition of seven “Hail Marys” we grant the 100-day indulgence, to be earned once a day. La Spezia 5 April 1949 + GIUSEPPE STELLA, Bishop of Luni. (Partial indulgence according to the present disposition of the Church).