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St Corrado - Noto PDF Print E-mail

Corrado Confalonieri (Calendasco, 1290 – Noto, february 19, 1351) belonged to one of the noblest families of Piacenza, and having married when he was quite young, led a virtuous and God-fearing life.

One day, when he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to set fire to some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A peasant who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated, was accused of being the author of the blaze. He was imprisoned, tortured to confess and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, made an open confession of his guilt; and in order to repair the damage he had caused, was obliged to sell all his possessions.

"Our Lady of the Letter" is one of the names used by the Catholic religion in the veneration of Mary, Mother of Jesus The tradition, using a statement of historical Lucio Flavio Destro, said that St. Paolo, arrived at Messina to preach the Gospel, found the people willing to leave converted. Soon, many people accepted the invitation to convert to Christianity and, in 42, when Paul was ready to return to Palestine, some of the inhabitants of Messina asked to accompany him to know Our Lady. So a delegation went in Palestine with a letter, in which many citizens who converted to Christianity, professed their faith and seek the protection of Mary. Maria received them and sent back a letter, written in Hebrew, rolled and tied with a lock of her hair. The delegation returned to Messina on September 8, 42 bringing the important missive : Mary praised their faith , said to appreciate their devotion and assured them his perpetual protection. So terminates the letter: "Vos et Ipsam civitatem benedicimus", that is "I bless you and your city". The text is now written in large letters at the base of the stele of Madonna in the harbor of Messina. From that year, the city of Messina celebrates Our Lay of the Letter on June 3, with a crowded procession of the silver "fercolo" of Our Lady and on August 15, with the procession of the colossal "Vara", dragged by hundreds of faithful dressed in white, with the participation of hundreds of thousands of faithful and curious people from all over Europe. In Messina, on June 3, will be celebrated the religious feast. In the morning, takes place a solemn celebration presided by archbishop with the participation of all religious and chivalric orders. In the afternoon, the simulacrum representing the Madonna of the letter, is carried in procession, work of the master Lio Gangeri dating from the nineteenth century. The moat solemn feast is that of the Assumption which takes place on August 13 to 15, attended by thousands of faithful and tourists. On August 14, two huge statues of wood and cardboard march in the streets of Messina, representing respectively "U Giganti" and "A Gigantissa" (The Giants). On August 15, is celebrated the feast of the Assumption. During the day, a "vara" representing the Assumption into heaven of the Virgin Mary, dating back to 1535, is carried in procession. This Construction is nothing more than a complex gimmick composed of many gears and leaning on a strain of very sturdy oak. All devotees actively participate to the procession clapping and shouting "Long live to Maria". As soon as the Vara comes to the cathedral, it takes place a magnificent show of fireworks that are fired from small boats near the statue of Madonna in the harbor of Messina. Some parts of this article are from Wikipedia

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Thus reduced to poverty, and seeking penance for his act of cowardice, Conrad and his wife saw the hand of God in this event. As a result, they agreed to separate and Conrad retired to a hermitage some distance from Piacenza, joining a community of hermits, who were Franciscan tertiaries, while his wife became a nun of the Order of Poor Clares.

Later he went to Rome, and thence to Sicily, where for thirty years he lived a most austere and penitential life, and worked numerous miracles, until he died at Noto on February 19, 1351, while kneeling before a crucifix. He was canonized in 1625 and his liturgical feast day is celebrated in the Franciscan Order on the day of his death. St Corrado is especially invoked for the cure of hernia. In the year 1515, Pope Leo X permitted the town of Noto to celebrate his feast.

Several miracles are attributed to St. Corrado:

During one of his visits to Noto, Corrado meets his old friend,
Antonio Sessa, who had long suffered from a hernia. At the sight of his pain, Corrado takes pity on him and after having prayed, Antonio immediately heals.

The most famous is the so-called miracle of the loaves, that Corrado had made during the terrible famine in Sicily, caused by the Black Death that raged. According to legend, at that time, everyone was talking to Corrado, did not return home without a freshly baked bread, pasted directly from the hands of the Angels.

At Noto, the saint is celebrated twice a year: February 19 (in memory of his death) and the last Sunday of August. The silver urn containing the spoils of the saint is supported by four griffins and on its summit there is a statue depicting the risen Christ.
The ark is carried on shoulders by members of an ancient brotherhood who wear a white shirt. Very characteristic is the return of the urn in the cathedral: the porters climb quickly up the stairs of the cathedral under
the sound of bells and the cheers of the crowd shouting: "Nuticiani chi semu muti? Viva San Currau!" (Netini are we mute? Long live to St Corrado!)

Source Wikipedia


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