Ex-votos: Sacred Testimonials

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At the sanctuary devoted to the Madonna della Milicia in Altavilla, pilgrims have offered ex-votos to the Virgin Mother. Ex-votos are iconographic body parts or other symbols that are given to the Madonna (That is, in this case. At other sacred sites, ex-votos would be offered to the divinity or saint celebrated there.) as gratitude for healing or grace received–those pictured here represent ailments relating to eyes, hearts, throat, and fertility. Ex-votos are very common in Sicily. The term ex-voto is an abbreviation for the Latin term “ex voto suscepto,” or “vow undertaken.” Ex-votos also act as a testimonial to other pilgrims seeking healing or grace.

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