Conflenti is an Italian town of around 1,430 inhabitants in the province of Catanzaro in Calabria. The name probably derives from its position at the confluence of two small rivers. Here Mary appeared several times to it citizens asking that a church be erected in the place.
Our Lady of the Oak (in Italian: Madonna della Quercia) appeared for the first time in the afternoon of June 7, 1578 to a shepherd of humble conditions, named Lorenzo Folino. Due to the sultry heat, the young man had laid down under a chestnut tree and had fallen asleep. He was suddenly awakened at the sound of a beautiful melody, which became gradually clearer and more intense. Frightened, he looked at a small hill called Serracampanara and saw the Virgin Mary surrounded by angels, descending on a large oak tree.
Leaving the flock, Lorenzo immediately rushed to the tree and knelt devoutly in prayer. Smiling, Our Lady asked him to come closer and entrusted him with this message:
“Go, o son, to the mayor and the parish priest and tell them what you have seen. Say that I am the Mother of God and that I want a church to be built in the place I show you. “
After showing him a large oak tree in the place called Visora, not far from the town of Conflenti, she disappeared. Lorenzo ran into the village and told the parish priest and the mayor what he had seen and heard, referring to Mary’s message. However, his story provoked a general laugh; many believed he had gone mad and turned him away badly.
The Madonna della Quercia then appeared to the peasant Vermiglia Mercuri and, finally, to the housewife Delicia Mastroianni always asking for the erection of a church on the site dedicated to her.
Since the reactions of the people did not change and even the ecclesiastical authorities did not give weight to the story of the three visionaries, Mary reappeared many other times, both to individual citizens and to all the people, working numerous miracles, until it was evident that it was a supernatural event and was decided that a church has to be finally built.
In 1862 a church was built; the oak on which the Our Lady had appeared was venerated until the evening of July 21, 1921, when unfortunately it was destroyed by fire. After many decades of complete abandonment with the help of even the emigrants of Conflenti scattered around the world, it was possible, over a decade, to rebuild the sacred temple as can be seen in its current form.