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Catholic Dictionary




Shrine of "Mary Comforter of the Afflicted" in Romania near the Transylvanian Alps. Csiksomlyo was settled by Franciscans, and the Church there date back to the fourteenth century. The origin of the revered carved wooden statue of Our Lady is disputed. Some think she is a folk production of the native Szeklers. In the middle centuries the people, to house their statue, built an impressive Gothic cathedral, later enlarged by Baroque and Byzantine additions. Mary was working her miracles at this shrine as early as the sixteenth century. The church was burned, the worshipers were attacked, the image was mutilated, but always the shrine remained intact. Mary's crowned head is surrounded by an aureole of golden rays studded with jeweled stars. She stands upon the crescent moon. In time the church was made a basilica and enlarged to accommodate the crowds of pilgrims.