August 15, 2018

Feast of the Madonna del Granato

Pomegranate from Salerno
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
August 15th is the Feast of the Madonna del Granato (Our Lady of the Pomegranate), patroness of Capaccio-Paestum, a town in the Province of Salerno. The local sanctuary, a Carmelite hermitage, is home to a beautiful wooden statue of the Blessed Mother holding the baby Jesus in her left arm and a pomegranate in her right hand. The sanctuary is an important destination for pilgrims, who make offerings of fruit, flowers and wax candles during the celebration. Interestingly, early Christians adopted the pomegranate as a sacred symbol of virtue and prosperity from the pre-Christian cult of Hera, Queen of Heaven. Several fine examples (see photos below) of the iconography can be seen at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Paestum. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a prayer in honor of the Madonna del Granato. The accompanying photos were taken during my 2010 visit to Paestum

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven

August Queen of Heaven! Sovereign Mistress of the angels! Thou who from the beginning hast received from God the power and mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly beseech thee to send thy holy Legions, that, under thy command and by thy power, they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks and drive them hence into the abyss of eternal woe. Amen
Marble statue of the goddess Hera enthroned
holding a pomegranate in her hand
Terracotta statuette of Hera holding Pomegranate