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The Weeping Madonna of Syracuse

by Zsolt Aradi


This article gives a brief description of the weeping Madonna of Syracuse.

Larger Work

Shrines to Our Lady



Publisher & Date

Farrar, Straus and Young, 1954

Ecclesiastical authorities usually do not hurry their recognition and acceptance of so-called apparitions and do not give hasty credence to reports that tell of supernatural occurrences. It is, therefore, altogether surprising that the Sicilian bishops officially recognized the Weeping Madonna in Sicily scarcely three months after the events themselves. In the cases of Lourdes and Fatima the ecclesiastical authorities waited for years before making a pronouncement. This case is even more interesting if we consider that Sicily is a land of contrasting, though deep-rooted traditions. Some of the customs go back to the times of the Phoenicians, later intermingling with various influences from Greece, Africa and the Near East.

The facts are these: a terra-cotta bust of the Virgin in the home of a humble couple, Angelo and Antonia Giusto, was discovered to be shedding tears on August 29, 1953. The phenomenon continued until September 1st. The tears were analyzed and it was found that they were of the same composition as human tears. Miraculous cures were claimed and crowds of faithful gathered in the town. The Bishops of Sicily immediately conducted an investigation and, after examining Archbishop Bronzini's report, they unanimously declared on December 12, 1953 that they had concluded that the reality of the weeping could not be doubted. They expressed the desire that "such a manifestation of the Heavenly Mother might inspire all to salutary penance and to a livelier devotion toward the Immaculate Heart of Mary and that a sanctuary be built which would perpetuate the memory of the miracle." (N.C.W.C.)

Cardinal Ruffini, after having read the Bishop's official statement, said that, "one cannot close one's eyes to the truth of the facts." (N.C.W.C.) From that day on Syracuse has been considered by the Church the city of the miracle of the Weeping Madonna.

It is interesting to note that the Madonna wept twice on December 12th, the day that the Bishop's report was issued.

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