has experienced tragedies and dismal times, but in more recent years the
tragedies have been transformed into triumphs of Our Lady of the Rosary, and
the unhappy times have been replaced by countless pilgrims who are the
joyful recipients of miracles and graces.
the first tragedies to visit Pompeii occurred in the year 79 A.D., when
Mount Vesuvius erupted with a vengeance. The volcano destroyed the Roman
city and concealed it for centuries beneath volcanic ash. The city that
developed about a mile from these ruins was also subjected to tragedy when
it was ravaged in 1659 by a widespread epidemic of malaria that killed most
of the population.
ancient church that had been built before the epidemic was eventually
demolished in 1740, and a smaller one was built as a replacement. Of the
once-thriving parish, only a handful of people remained
and these were served by a tired and elderly priest. Finally,
in addition to the various superstitions that gripped the people, they were
additionally troubled and weakened by bandits who terrorized and pillaged.
Pompeii eventually became known as "a most dangerous resort of bold and
Lady never abandons her children, and the most unlikely places have been
chosen by her to display the wonders she can perform for those who are
devoted to her. The instrument she used for her conquest of this unhappy
city was Bartolo Longo [1841-1926], who would at first appear to be a most
in Naples to be an attorney, Bartolo was introduced to Satanism during his
college days. After "ordination" as a priest in the church of Satan, he
spent many years in the exercise of his office by preaching, officiating at
the rites, publicly ridiculing the Catholic Church and her priests, and
speaking against all matters relating to the Catholic religion. Longo was
brought to Satan by bad companions; a good friend, Vincente Pepe, brought
him back to God. Vincent eventually succeeded in placing Bartolo in the care
of a Dominican friar, Alberto Radente, who helped him in the final stages of
withdrawal from the sect.
returning to the Sacraments, Bartolo decided to make reparation by joining a
group of people who cared for the poor and the sick. A member of this group
was Countess di Fusco, a wealthy widow who owned property near the ancient
ruins. Commissioned by her to collect the rents, Bartolo saw for himself the
desolation of the city and the spiritual poverty of the people.
One day in October 1872, while he paused in the fields near
Pompeii, he began to reflect on his previous consecration as a priest of
Satan. He tells us:
thought that perhaps as the priesthood of Christ is for eternity, so also
the priesthood of Satan is for eternity. So, despite my repentance, I
thought that I was still consecrated to Satan, and that I am still his slave
and property as he awaits me in Hell. As I pondered over my condition, I
experienced a deep sense of despair and almost committed suicide. Then I
heard an echo in my ear of the voice of Friar Alberto repeating the words of
the Blessed Virgin Mary:
propagates my Rosary shall be saved." These words certainly brought an
illumination to my soul. Falling to my knees, I exclaimed: "If your words
are true that he who propagates your Rosary will be saved, I shall reach
salvation because I shall not leave this earth without propagating your
Rosary." Like an answer to my promise, the little bell of the parish church
of Pompeii rang out, inviting the people to pray the Angelus. This incident
was like a signature to my firm decision.
delay, Bartolo organized a parish mission and invited a group of priests to
speak about devotion to the Holy Rosary. To conclude the mission, he planned
to exhibit a painting of Our Lady. He found an appropriate picture in a
Naples shop, but unfortunately, he could not afford to purchase it. He was
picture was unsuitable, since Canon Law at that time required that a
painting be executed in oils upon canvas or wood. The picture he had chosen
was an oleograph on paper.
return home he shared his disappointment with Friar Alberto Radente, who
told him of a painting that a nun named Mother Concetta had in her convent.
Since she was willing to part with it, Friar Alberto encouraged Bartolo to
ask for it. This painting had originally been discovered in a junk shop by
Friar Alberto. He had purchased it for a mere eight carlins, or the
equivalent of one dollar. The friar had given the portrait of Our Lady to
Mother Concetta some time earlier.
Bartolo saw this painting, he was extremely displeased by its pitiful
condition and its historical and artistical flaws. He described the painting
in this manner:
was it worm-eaten, but the face of the Madonna was that of a coarse, rough
country-woman . . . a piece of canvas was missing just above her head . . .
her mantle was cracked. Nothing can be said of the hideousness of the other
figures. St. Dominic looked like a street idiot. To Our Lady's left was St.
Rose. This latter I had changed later into a St. Catherine of Siena . . . I
hesitated whether to refuse the gift or to accept. I had promised a picture
unconditionally for that evening. I took it.
was enticed into accepting the picture by Mother Concetta. She encouraged
him with the words: "Take it with you; you will see that the Blessed Mother
will use this painting to work many miracles." The words proved to be
the painting was too large for Bartolo to carry back with him, he wrapped it
in a sheet and gave it to a man who routinely drove his wagon between Naples
and Pompeii. Not knowing the subject of the painting, the man arrived with
the portrait positioned atop a load of manure that he was to deliver to a
nearby field. In this inauspicious manner the Queen of the Rosary arrived in
painting arrived on November 13, 1875. Every year the faithful observe the
anniversary of the painting's arrival with special prayers and observances.
months after its arrival, in January of 1876, the picture's first
restoration was completed in time for the canonical foundation of the
Confraternity of the Holy Rosary which had been organized by Bartolo Longo.
Another restoration took place in 1879 by Maldarelli, a Neapolitan artist,
who thought at first that the task was hopeless. Still another restoration
is said to have taken place in 1965 by artists at the Vatican.
fitting shrine for this painting, Bartolo arranged for the building of a
magnificent church. Its construction was funded by the pennies of the poor
and the substantial gifts of the rich.
was being built, three outstanding miracles took place. The first involved a
twelve-year-old child, Clorinda Lucarelli, a victim of fierce attacks of
epilepsy. Distraught relatives of the child made a promise to help in the
building of the proposed church if the child recovered her health. Clorinda
was cured on the day the picture was exposed for veneration. Two doctors
certified on oath that the cure was nothing less than miraculous.
woman, Concetta Vasterilla, who was dying in agony, was also cured when
similar promises were made. During the day when the cornerstone of the new
church was laid, May 8, 1876, Fr. Anthony Varone, who had received the Last
Sacraments and was dying of a gangrenous condition, was likewise healed. He
celebrated Holy Mass the following morning and acknowledged his miraculous
cure from the pulpit on the feast of the Holy Rosary.
after the cornerstone was laid, another miracle took place when Madame
Giovannina Muta was cured. She had been in the last stages of consumption
when she was persuaded to make certain promises to Our Lady of Pompeii. On
June 8, while Madame Muta lay in bed, she saw in a vision the picture of Our
Lady of Pompeii
although she had never seen the picture in actuality. But as
she gazed, Our Lady seemed to cast her way a ribbon on which was written:
"The Virgin of Pompeii grants your request, Giovannina Muta." When the
vision faded, Madame Muta was completely cured. Other marvelous miracles and
favors have taken place which are far too numerous to mention here.
the Sanctuary was being constructed, Bartolo turned his interest to helping
orphans, writing books about the history of the Rosary and composing novenas
and a prayer manual for use at the Sanctuary. While engaged in these
activities Bartolo found time to marry the widow, Countess Mariana di Fusco,
on April 1, 1885.
the couple spent their time and money in helping the many orphans who were
entrusted to their care. They likewise helped candidates to the priesthood
and religious life, Bartolo being credited with paying for the education of
about 45 seminarians.
church was consecrated by Cardinal La Valletta, Papal Legate for Pope Leo
Xlll, in May of 1891. In 1934, at the express command of Pope Pius XI, a
great new basilica was begun. Completed in 1939, it was opened in the name
of Pope Pius XII by Cardinal Magliones, Secretary of State to His Holiness.
Pope St. Pius X had earlier expressed support for the Sanctuary and devotion
to Our Lady of Pompeii.
miraculous portrait of Our Lady of the Rosary is situated high atop the main
altar of this artistically enriched sanctuary. In its golden frame, the
colorful painting depicts the Blessed Mother seated upon a throne. On her
knee is the Child Jesus, who is handing a Rosary to St. Dominic, while the
Blessed Mother is handing a rosary to St. Catherine of Siena. Pope Leo XIll
once stated, "God has made use of this image to grant those favors which
have moved the whole world."
once-discarded portrait, costing a mere dollar, which arrived in Pompeii
under the humblest conditions, is now studded with diamonds and gems which
were donated to Our Lady by her grateful clients.
been estimated that at least 10,000 pilgrims visit the sanctuary each day,
but twice a year, on May 8 and the first Sunday of October, at least 100,000
pilgrims join in the solemn prayers which Bartolo Longo composed.
former Satanist, the devout convert, respected lawyer and champion of the
orphaned lived a long life of 85 years, dying on October 5, 1926. The tombs
of Bartolo Longo and his wife are found in the crypt of the sanctuary.
promise of the Blessed Mother that "One who propagates my Rosary shall be
saved" was realized when Pope John Paul II affirmed the salvation of Bartolo
Longo's soul at the ceremony of beatification which was conducted on October
atop the main altar of the basilica in Pompeii is found the miraculous
painting that long ago had been purchased in a junk shop for the equivalent
of one dollar.
AND FAVORS have taken place through the intercession of Our Lady of Pompeii,
pictured above. The Blessed Mother, seated upon a throne, is depicted
holding the Child Jesus on her knee. He hands a rosary to St. Dominic, and
the Blessed Virgin places a rosary into the hand of St. Catherine of Siena.
The portrait is embellished by diamonds and other gems donated by grateful
followers of Our Lady.
Novena to Our Lady of
V. O God, come unto my
O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the
As it was in the beginning, etc.
I. Behold me at thy knees,
Immaculate Mother of Jesus, who dost rejoice at being invoked as Queen of
the Rosary in the Vale of Pompeii. With joy in my heart, and my mind filled
with the most lively gratitude, I return to thee who art my most generous
benefactor, my dearest Lady, the Queen of my heart, to thee who hast shown
thyself my true Mother, the Mother who loves me exceedingly. I was filled
with groanings and thou didst hear my cry; I was in affliction and thou
didst comfort me; I was in the valley of the shadow of death and thou didst
bring me peace. The sorrows and pains of death laid siege to my soul, and
thou, dear Mother, from thy throne in Pompeii with one look of pity didst
make me serene. Who bath ever turned to thee with confidence and hath not
been heard ? If only the whole world knew thy great goodness, thy tender
compassion for those who suffer, how all creation would have recourse to
thee! Mayest thou be ever blessed, O Virgin and Queen of Pompeii, by me and
by all others, both men and Angels, on earth and in Heaven.
to the Father;
Hail, Holy Queen.
2. I return thanks to God and
to thee, O Mother of God, for the fresh blessings that have been showered
upon me through thy pity and loving-kindness. What a fate would mine have
been, hadst thou rejected my sighs and tears! Let the Angels in Paradise,
the glorious choir of the Apostles, the noble army of the Martyrs, the holy
bands of Virgins and Confessors give thee thanks in my behalf. Let the many
souls of sinners, saved
by thine intercession, who now enjoy in Heaven
the vision of thine unfading loveliness, give thanks to thee in my behalf. I
would that all creatures might love thee in union with me, and that the
whole world might repeat the refrain of my hymns of thanksgiving. What can I
render to thee, O Queen, rich in mercy and magnificence? What remains of
life I dedicate to thee and to the spreading of thy devotion, O Virgin of
the Rosary of Pompeii, through whose invocation the grace of the Lord hath
visited me. I will spread abroad devotion to thy Rosary, I will tell all men
of the mercies thou hast obtained for me; I will ever more proclaim thy
great goodness toward me, so that other sinners, as unworthy as I, may turn
to thee in all confidence.
to the Father;
Hail, Holy Queen.
3. By what name shall I invoke
thee, thou white dove of peace? Under what title shall I call upon thee whom
the holy Doctors have named the Mistress of creation, the gate of life, the
temple of God, the palace of light, the glory of the heavens, the Saint of
saints, the wonder of wonders, the paradise of the Most High God? Thou art
the treasurer of divine graces, the omnipotent answer to prayer, nay, the
very mercy of God, which is shown toward the unfortunate. But I know, too,
that it is pleasing to thy heart to be invoked as Queen of the Rosary in the
Vale of Pompeii. And as I hail thee by this title, I perceive the sweetness
of thy mystic name, O rose of paradise, transplanted into this valley of
tears, to sweeten our miseries who are banished children of Eve; red rose of
charity, more fragrant than all the spices of Libanus, who by the perfume of
thy heavenly sweetness dost draw the hearts of sinners to the Heart of God
in this thy valley of Pompeii. Thou art the rose of eternal freshness,
watered by the streams of water from Heaven; thou hast set thy roots in a
land parched by a rain of fire; thou art a rose of spotless beauty , who in
a place of desolation hast planted a garden of the delights of the Lord. May
God be praised, who hath made thy name so wonderful! Bless, O ye peoples,
bless the name of the Virgin of Pompeii, for all the earth is full of her
to the Father;
Hail, Holy Queen.
4. In the midst of the
tempests which have overwhelmed me, I have lifted up mine eyes to thee, thou
new star of hope that hath risen in these latter days above the valley of
ruin. From the depths of my bitterness I have lifted up my voice to thee, O
Queen of the Rosary of Pompeii, and I have felt the power of that title so
dear to thee. Hail, I shall ever cry, hail to thee, thou Mother of pity,
fathomless ocean of grace, sea of goodness and compassion! Who shall be
worthy to sing the new glories of thy Rosary, the fresh victories of thy
chaplet? In this valley, where Satan devoured souls in olden times, thou
hast prepared salvation for a world, that is tearing itself from the loving
arms of Jesus in order to cast itself into the deadly embrace of Satan.
Triumphantly dost thou trample underfoot the fragments of pagan temples, and
upon the ruins of ancient idolatry thou hast established the throne of thine
imperial sway. Thou hast changed the valley of death into a valley of
resurrection and life; and in a land once dominated by thine enemy, thou
hast built a city of refuge, where thou dost receive thy people in safety.
Behold, thy children, scattered throughout the world, have erected thy
throne there, as a witness to thy miracles, as a memorial of thy mercies.
From that throne thou hast called me to be among the sons of thy
predilection; upon poor me thy merciful glance hath rested. May thy works be
praised for ever, O Blessed Lady, and praised be the marvels wrought by thee
in this valley of desolation and death.
to the Father;
Hail, Holy Queen.
5; Let every tongue speak of
thy glory, dear Lady, and let the harmonious accord of our praises sound
from evening even to the morning. May all generations call thee blessed and
may all the coasts of earth and all the mansions of Heaven re-echo the hymn
of praise. Nay, I will call thee thrice blessed, in union with the Angels
and Principalities; thrice blessed, with the angelical Powers, with the
Virtues of heaven, with the supernal Dominations; most blessed will I
proclaim thee with the Thrones, with the Cherubim and Seraphim. O Queen of
salvation, cease not to turn thine eyes in pity upon this thy family, upon
this nation, upon the Church universal. Above all, deny me not the greatest
of graces; that is, let not my frailty ever separate me from thee. Grant
that I may persevere even to the end in the love and faith wherewith my soul
is on fire at this moment. Grant, also, that all of us, who come together in
the beauty of thy sanctuary in Pompeii, may be of the number of the elect. O
chaplet of the Rosary of my Mother , I press thee to my breast and I kiss
thee in a spirit of profound reverence. Thou art the way that leads to the
attainment of every virtue, the treasure of merits for paradise, the pledge
of my predestination, the mighty chain that binds fast the enemy of our
salvation, a source of peace to all who give thee due honor in this life,
and a foretaste of victory to those who kiss thee at the hour of death. In
that last hour, I shall look to thee, O Mother; thy coming will be the sign
of my salvation, thy Rosary will open to me the gates of paradise. Amen.
to the Father;
Hail, Holy Queen.
V. Pray for us, O Queen of the
most holy Rosary;
R. That we may be made
worthy of the promises of Christ.
O God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, Who hast taught us to come to Thee with confidence and to call
Thee: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, ah! good Lord, to whom it belongeth to
have mercy and to pardon, graciously hear us through the intercession of the
Immaculate Virgin Mary, for we glory in the title of children of the Rosary;
accept our humble thanks for the gifts we have received from Thee; and do
Thou make the shrine which Thou hast set up in the sanctuary of Pompeii,
every day more glorious and more lasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it
was in the
beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
HAIL HOLY QUEEN
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of
mercy; hail our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor
banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and
weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine
eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile show unto us the blessed
fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray
for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of
THE DOMINICAN WAY OF
PRAYING THE ROSARY [Top
You will notice that Dominicans start the Rosary in a different way from
the usual. Really, it is the more ancient formula and is based on the idea
that the Rosary is the layperson's breviary. These introductory prayers are
the ones with which the Divine Office traditionally commences:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
V. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
V. Lord, open my lips.
R. And my tongue shall announce your praise.
V. Incline to my aid, O God.
R. Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
Alleluia! (Or during Lent: Praise be to You, O Lord, King of eternal
After this the decades are begun immediately:
One Our Father,
Ten Hail Marys and
One Glory be to the Father, for each decade.
(The preliminary Apostles' Creed, Our Father, three Hail Marys and Glory
be are not said.)
At the end of the Rosary the following prayers are said:
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, our hope. To
you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our
sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, O most
gracious Advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us. And after this, our exile,
show us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet
Leader: Pray for us, Queen of the most holy Rosary.
People: That we might be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
All: Let us pray. O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death and
resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we
beseech You, that meditating on the sacred mysteries of the most holy Rosary
of the blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what
they promise. Through the same Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
When the Rosary is recited publicly, i.e. by two or more persons, a
Leader should be designated who will name the proper mystery before each
decade and say the verses marked "V" above, as well as the ending prayers.
The Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory be's should be divided alternately
between the Leader and congregation, or between one side of the congregation
and the other. The leading of these prayers should likewise alternate, that
is, the first decade should be led by the Leader and responded to by the
congregation (or Side A and Side B), the second decade led by the
congregation and responded to by the Leader (Side B and Side A), and so on.