Our Lady of the Day (May 8) – OUR LADY OF POMPEI, Pompeii, Naples, Italy


Bartolo Longo, in his intent to promote the practice of the Rosary among the Pompeians, went to Naples to buy a painting of the Our Lady of the Rosary. The idea was to buy the one he had already seen in a shop, but things did not go that way.

By pure chance, in fact, he met Father Radente (his confessor) in Via Toledo, who suggested that he go to the Conservatory of the Rosary of Portamedina and ask, in his name, Sister Maria Concetta De Litala an old painting of the Rosary which he himself had entrusted ten years ago. Bartolo followed his suggestion, but was soon taken with dismay when the nun showed him the painting: a canvas corroded by moths and worn out by time, missing pieces of color, with the Madonna in an antihistorical attitude, that is, with the Virgin holding out the crown in St. Rose, instead of St. Catherine of Siena, as in the Dominican tradition. Bartolo was about to decline the offer but still withdrew the gift for the insistence of the Sister.

Image of the painting of Our Lady of Pompeii as it was the original with St. Rose instead of St. Catherine

In the late afternoon of November 13, 1875, the image of the Madonna arrived in Pompeii, brought by Angelo Tortora on a cart used for the transport of manure. The icon was left with its worn cover in front of the dilapidated Parish of SS. Salvatore, where the elderly parish priest Cyril, Bartolo and other inhabitants were waiting. The dismay that initially had caught Bartolo, also caught all the others present, when the blanket was removed, the painting was shown. They all agreed that the painting could not be exhibited for fear of interdiction, before even a partial restoration.

The first restoration was the work of Guglielmo Galella, a painter who reproduced the images painted in the excavations of ancient Pompeii. The old canvas, exhibited in the parish of SS. Salvatore, in the following three years, suffered further deteriorations. It was thus restored for the second time and always free of charge by the Neapolitan painter Federico Maldarelli, who also took care of transforming the figure of St. Rose into St. Catherine of Siena. Another Neapolitan artist, Francesco Chiariello, replaced the battered canvas, extending it by one palm, before Maldarelli made the second real restoration.

Transformed the figure of St. Rose into St. Catherine of Siena

The painting was no longer placed in the parish of SS. Salvatore, but on a temporary altar, in a chapel (later called St. Catherine) in the Sanctuary under construction. The image of the Madonna was soon covered with precious stones, offered as proofs of thanksgiving for the graces received. Pope Leo XIII in 1887 blessed the wonderful diadem that surrounded the Virgin’s forehead. And among the diamonds and sapphires that formed the haloes on the head of the Madonna and Child, four very rare emeralds could be seen, a gift from two Jews who received grace from Our Lady.

The last restoration was carried out in 1965, at the Pontifical Institute of the Benedictine Olivetan Fathers of Rome, a highly scientific restoration, during which, under the overlapping colors in the previous interventions, the original colors were discovered which revealed the hand of a talented artist of the school of Luca Giordano (17th century). In this restoration almost all precious stones were eliminated, in order to avoid damage and perforations to the canvas. On that occasion, the image of the Madonna remained exposed to the veneration of the faithful for a few days in St. Peter’s Basilica and on April 23, 1965, the painting was crowned by Pope Paul VI.

Photo of the original painting of the Madonna di Pompei

The return of the Icon to Pompeii took place in a solemn manner, with a procession of clergymen and faithful who grew larger as they passed through the cities along the Rome-Pompeii route. Late in the evening, the painting arrived in Naples where it was welcomed with illuminations and torchlight processions and then continued with a large following of Neapolitans to Pompeii, where the journey ended triumphantly with a great celebration.

In 2000, for the 125th anniversary, the painting stayed for five days in the Cathedral of Naples, where it was venerated by thousands of faithful. The return to Pompeii was made on foot, following the route of 1875, with several stops in the cities of the province. Throughout the day hundreds of thousands of people crowded the thirty-kilometer route that separates Pompeii from the capital.

On 16 October 2002, the painting returned to St. Peter’s Square, at the explicit request of Pope St. John Paul II who, alongside the beautiful image venerated in Pompeii, signed the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae.

Pope St. John Paul II signed the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae alongside the beautiful image of the Madonna of Pompeii,


After due restoration, the painting was placed for the veneration of the faithful on February 13, 1876. On the same day, in Naples, the first miracle occurred through the intercession of Our Lady of Pompeii: a twelve-year-old Clorinda Lucarelli, deemed incurable by the illustrious prof. Antonio Cardarelli, perfectly recovered from terrible epileptic seizures.

The Little Salesian Sisters, whose presence is all over Italy and abroad, have a singular devotion to the Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii; indeed, those residing in Lecce consecrated the chapel of the deaf-mute to the Virgin of Pompeii and placed a beautiful image in veneration.

In 1885, among other unfortunate mute girls, a girl native of Molfetta, called Maria Petruni, eight years old, was hospitalized in that Pia Casa di Lecce. When she was just two years old she fell and had injured her knee to the point of not being able to walk anymore. They diagnosed her with a “white tumor”;. They tried to operate it, but the situation worsened, not only physically, but also morally. The doctors thought they had to amputate her leg. The little girl was crying and a nun named Rosaria advised her to turn to the Virgin of Pompeii.

On March 24, 1889, Sister Rosaria sees her sadly watching her friends play and on impulse says:

“Walk, the Virgin of Pompeii will make you walk!”

At that incitement, the child made an effort and felt in her a flow of strength and realizes that she was instantly healed! Her companions were surprised, looked at her with astonished eyes; then they approach, touch her, as if they don’t believe their eyes, celebrate her around, and raise a hymn of glory and blessing to the Virgin of Pompeii …

This fact published in the periodical IL ROSARIO E LA NUOVA POMPEI, in the magazine of October, year VI, 1889, is accompanied by the medical report of Doctor Oronzio Fiocca of Lecce, declaring the miracle, of the certificate of the Director of the Pia Casa delle Sordomute of Lecce , Rev.do Sac. Don Filippo Smaldone and the signatures of the witnesses, including the Superior and the other women religious of the said Pia Casa, the Superior of the Daughters of Ivrea and the other Kindergarten school Sisters next to the Institute of the deaf-mute, and of noble ladies from Lecce visiting the Pia Casa.

Pope Francis visits the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Pompei on March 21, 2015


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The “Supplica” – Solemn Petition Prayer to Our Lady of Pompeii 

(to be Recited On the 8th of May and the First Sunday in October.)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and or the Holy Spirit. Amen.


I. O august Queen of victories, Virgin who reignest in paradise, whose mighty name causes Heaven to rejoice and hell to tremble, O glorious Queen of the most holy Rosary, we, thy happy children chosen by thy goodness in this century to build thee a temple at Pompeii, kneeling at thy feet on this solemn day to commemorate thy latest triumphs on the spot where idols and demons were formerly worshipped, we pour out with tears the feelings of our hearts and with a filial confidence lay before thee our miseries.

From that throne of mercy where thou sittest as Queen, o Mary, turn down thy pitiful eyes on us, on our families, on Italy, on Europe, and the whole Church; take into pity the afflictions which overwhelm us and the cares which embitter our life. Thou seest, o Mother, how many dangers of soul and body, how many calamities and afflictions press upon us.

O Mother, keep back the arm of justice of thy indignant Son, and conquer by thy mercy the hearts of sinners, since they are our brethren and thy children, redeemed through the blood of our sweet Jesus and through the wounds of thy most tender heart pierced with the sword. Show thyself to all in this day, as thou art, the Queen of peace and mercy.
Hail, Queen, Mother of mercy, Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, o sacred Virgin. Give me strength against thy enemies.

Pray for us, Queen of the most holy Rosary, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Hail Mary


II. It is but too true that we, although thy children, are the first who crucify Jesus in our hearts and wound anew thy heart by our sins. We confess it, we deserve the severest chastisements; yet remember how thou didst receive, on the top of Golgotha, the last drops of that Divine blood, and the testament of our dying Redeemer. And this testament of a God, sealed with the blood of a Man-God, appointed thee our Mother, the Mother of sinners. Thus, as our Mother, thou art our Advocate and our Hope. To thee, amidst sighs, do we lift up our hands, crying for mercy!
Have pity, good mother, have pity on us, on our souls, on our families, on our relations, on our friends, on our departed brethren, above all, on our enemies, and on so many who claim the name of Christians, yet wound the loving heart of thy Son. Pity, o Mother, we now implore thee for pity on the erring nations, on all Europe, on the whole world, that they may repair repentant to thy heart. Be merciful to all, o Mother of mercy.

Hail, Queen, Mother of mercy, Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, o sacred Virgin. Give me strength against thy enemies. Pray for us, Queen of the most holy Rosary, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Hail Mary


III. What does it cost thee, o Mary, to hear us? What does it cost thee to save us? Did not Jesus entrust to thy hands all the treasures of His graces and mercies? Thou sittest as Queen at the right hand of thy Son, crowned with immortal glory, above all the choirs of angels. Thou extendest thy dominion as far as the heavens expand, the earth and all the creatures that people it are subject to thee. Thy power even reaches hell; and thou alone, O Mary, canst rescue us from the devil’s grasp. Thou art almighty by grace, and therefore thou canst save us. Now if you sayest thou wilIest not help us because we are ungrateful children and unworthy of thy protection, tell us at least to whom shall we have recourse in order to be released from so many evils? Oh! No, thy maternal heart will never bear to see the ruin of thy children. The Divine Child we behold on thy knees, the mystical crown we admire in thy hand, both inspire us with hope that we will be heard. And full of confidence in thee, we throw ourselves at thy feet, we trust ourselves as feeble children into the arms of the tenderest amongst mothers and today, this very day, we expect from thee the graces we are longing for.
Hail, Queen, Mother of mercy, Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, o sacred Virgin. Give me strength against thy enemies. Pray for us, Queen of the most holy Rosary, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Hail Mary


Let us ask Mary for her blessing.

We now ask of thee, O Queen, a last favour which thou canst not refuse on this solemn day. Grant to all of us thy constant love and in a special manner thy maternal blessing. No, we will not leave thy feet today nor cease clasping thy knees till thou hast blessed us. Bless now, o Mary, the sovereign Pontiff: to the first laurels of thy crown, to the ancient trophies of the Rosary, whence thou art called Queen of victories, add also this one, o Mother, grant triumph to religion and peace to mankind. Bless our bishop, the priests and particularly those who promote the honour of thy Sanctuary; bless finally all those who are associated to thy new temple of Pompeii and who practice and spread devotion to thy most holy rosary .
O blessed rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love, which connects us with the angels, tower of safety against the assaults of hell, sure harbour in the universal shipwreck, never more shall we part with thee; thou shall be our comfort in the hour of agony: to thee the last kiss of our life; and the last word of our dying lips shall be thy sweet name, O Queen of the Rosary of Valle di Pompei. Mother dear, only refuge of sinners, supreme comforter of the afflicted, blessed be thy name, now and forever, on earth and in heaven. Amen.

Hail; Queen, Mother of mercy, Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, o sacred Virgin. Give me strength against thy enemies.
Pray for us, Queen of the most holy Rosary, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Hail Holy Queen


[This prayer has been approved by the Congregation of rites, and Leo XIII has granted an indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines to those who devoutly recite it on the 8th of May or on the first Sunday in October. (Rescript of June 18th, 1887).]


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