Friday, June 17, 2011
HOME SWEET ROME, I MEAN, LIVORNO!
This is my mother's home town and I still have many, many first cousins there. The shrine actually overlooks Livorno (also called Leghorn in English) situated on a hill to the south of Livorno, called Montenero. It has been a destination for pilgrims since 1345, and is called Santa Maria delle Grazie, but also known as Madonna di Montenero. Many miracles are associated with Our Lady's intercession there and there is a shrine room with discarded crutches, wheel chairs and wonderful, lavish "thank you's" to Our Lady. Up until at least the late 1980's or early '90's the high altar was used exclusively for daily and Sunday Mass ad orientem in the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Unfortunately they succumbed and placed an out-of-place altar table in front of the magnificent original altar. Very sad. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton experienced her conversion while staying in Livorno. This is a Extraordinary Form Solemn Sung Mass held this past week at the Shrine.
My mother and her family often went to Montenero which is a short bus and funicular ride from her home in Livorno. There is a lovely village with nice bakeries and small Tratorias. Both Livorno and Montenero are situated on the Mediterranean side of Italy and from Montenero there is a spectacular view of Livorno and the Mediterranean. I want to go back so bad! The air is so fresh too. I can smell it in my mind!