Live from Sicily! We had a glorious weather in Siracusa today. Our clients were full of questions about ancient history as well as modern. One of the more fascinating modern stories about Siracusa is this church, or should I say, this upside down ice cream cone, pictured from this morning! It is the Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime or the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Tears. In 1953, a pregnant woman was home resting in bed when she noticed that the enameled plaster bust of the Madonna Immacolato hanging above her bed was crying. Her husband came home, and he confirmed that he saw it crying as well. They called their priest. They called their families. They called everyone to take a look. Yup, it was crying! For four days from August 29 to September 1, 1953 the Madonna cried.
Scientists analyzed the tears and confirmed that the liquid was human tears. Well, you can only imagine the interest that this stirred in the devoted! Pilgrims from all over came to see this miracle for themselves. To accommodate the interest in this extraordinary piece of art that the couple had received as a wedding gift, the Church built this architectural curiosity that may be seen from all over the city. Designed by French architects, it was finally completed in 1994 after more than two decades of construction, which was stopped multiple times (and for years at a time) because when they broke ground, the foundation of the ancient sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone was found… along with 5,000 terracotta statuettes dedicated to the goddesses.
Those of us with an affinity for the divine feminine have a hunch that the outcomes spawned from this 20th century miracle, which is now displayed over the location of the 4th century sacred site to the mother goddess, happened for a reason! Demeter wanted her sanctuary to be found.