Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Suddenly, the Virgin began to move

Une Minute avec Marie
An initiative of the Mary of Nazareth Association

December 30 – Holy Mary near San Celso (Italy, 1485)

Suddenly, the Virgin began to move

Santa Maria presso San Celso (Holy Mary near San Celso) is the most popular shrine in Milan, Italy. It became well-known in 395, when the body of the martyr Saint Nazarius was found intact in Tre Mori Cemetery near Milan.

The bishop himself carried the body to the new basilica, then he returned to Tre Mori to pray at the place where, according to tradition, another martyr named Celsus was buried. Celsus was a young lad from Nice who chose to follow Nazarius. He was killed at the same time as Nazarius during the persecutions of Nero (d.68).

The martyr’s tomb was placed under the altar—the fourth-century sarcophagus is still kept in the shrine. Later, the bishop had an image of the Madonna and Child painted in a niche at the back of the church, protected by a metal screen.

In 1485, on December 30th, a priest named Father Pietro Porro was celebrating Mass in the packed church, when the image of the Virgin began to move. She lifted her veil, opened her arms and clasped her hands together. The Child Jesus also appeared to be making a gesture of blessing towards the faithful. The numerous testimonies, still conserved in the archives of the shrine, allowed for ecclesiastical approval to be granted within a few months of this event.

Giuseppe Frangi

Image from