Feast of Madonna


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          Madonna of the Miracles                       Feast of the Madonna the Miracles





From Piazza Manfredi Chiaramonte a steep descent known as the "Descent of the Madonna", from the procession, leads to the Madonna dei Miracoli church, the finest and most important in the village.
This was a church born of a legend, as we are told by an ancient manuscript at the San Domenico monastery.
On 8 September 1530 a miracle occurred at Mussomeli: a poor paralytic who was travelling on a mule's back, halted, tired, in the shade of a tree and fell asleep with his crutches beside him.
Here, the legend says, "when he awoke he discovered that his movements were free and that he could walk without the help of his crutches.
Amazed at being healed he began to shout out that a miracle had been performed.
A lot of people came running out of the village and, seeking the cause of the prodigy, on a stone among brambles they found the image of the Virgin Mary with Child; they adored her and called her the Madonna of Miracles."
At first this devotion was only expressed with prayers, but afterwards a chapel was built and the eighth of September was chosen as the feast of the patron saint of the village. Inside the present-day Madonna dei Miracoli church, a baroque construction dating from 1724 and built by the Dominican fathers, there is a Virgin Mary with Child painted on stone which still today is visited by the faithful in the crypt of the sanctuary: it was restored in the eighteenth century by the painter Domenico Provenzano from Palma di Montechiaro.
Other works by Provenzano to be admired are a big fresco in the vault, signed and dated 1750, an oil canvas on the right altar and, in the sacristy, the portrait of the Dominican father Biondolillo.
In the sanctuary there are kept some wooden statues, done in the nineteenth century by Francesco Biancardi: a Madonna of Miracles on the high altar and a Madonna of the Rosary in the sacristy.
From an earlier period, i.e. from the sixteenth century, there date the St. Joseph which is on display in a side chapel and another Madonna of Miracles kept in the crypt.
The attached Dominican monastery has been restructured and still preserves the charm of a monastery, but no longer houses the religious, and in future will be used for exhibitions and other cultural events.