It was 1624, and Palermo was Under Siege


During the late spring and summer of 1624, Palermo was under siege, but it wasn’t another foreign invader that was the perpetrator. This time it was a plague that afflicted more than 10,000 inhabitants. Things were looking pretty bleak until in early July, when a lost hunter had a vision: Santa Rosalia appeared to him and promised to protect him and the city of Palermo once he followed her instructions. She explained in detail where her remains could be found, and charged him, once they were unearthed, to carry them throughout the city streets. The hunter honored the saint’s words. He located her bones, which were buried deep in a cave on Mount Pellegrino, and on July 15, 1624, Santa Rosalia’s relics were solemnly paraded throughout the city. Within three days residents began to recover. And by July 15, 1625, the plague was eradicated.

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