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BONARIA, OUR LADY OF

A shrine at Cagliari, Sardinia, dedicated to the Queen of All Sailors. According to tradition, Cagliari had been a malaria-infested region. An old monk foretold that the name of the city would be changed to Bon-aria instead of "bad-air," the designation it then had. The prophecy was fulfilled on March 25, 1370, when a ship laden with merchandise ran ashore in a hurricane. Its jettisoned cargo included a heavy chest now preserved in the cathedral sanctuary. When the chest touched the sea, the storm abated; though heavy, it did not sink but drifted ashore near the church, where the priests found that it contained a beautiful figure of Our Lady carrying the Infant. The Child holds a ball in his left hand and reaches out to grasp a candle standing on a ship model held by his mother. It accurately records the wind's direction though it is in a draftless room. Our Lady of Bonaria was proclaimed patroness of Sardinia by Pope Pius X, and the unfinished church was later raised to the rank of minor basilica by Pius XI. On April 24, 1970, Pope Paul VI visited this famous shrine and celebrated an open-air Mass addressing the pilgrims on the need of veneration of the Mother of God.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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