The Madonna story 17

The Madonna story of Genzano

Madonna story of Genzano
Welcome to my hub (17), the Madonna story of Genzano di Lucania, you are all invited. 

This is an areal view of Genzano town, of course when this Madonna was found, this town was a lot smaller.  

This is the Madonna statue that we take around Genzano town, when we have this Madonna feast. there is a lot more that could be said, and you can find a lot more in our writings if you read them. 

The Madonna story of Genzano

To start with, here under are two or three links that are a must see for those that come from Genzano town and also everyone else: I hope they work, as they also brink up more interesting links to see.
In our last article called, The heritage chapter, we have explained and accepted that indeed in Genzano di Lucania a long time ago there were living some Greek people in one of the chasms, since even today it is called the Greek chasm; anyhow, I would like to go back to talk about the Greek people; because, there are reasons to believe that they not only lived there, but before those Greek people left the chasm for the last time; well, here we have to assume all this because of the evidence that follows, you see, the Greek people seemed to have been forced to move away from this place, and when they did they hid their Madonna effigy at the lower end of the chasm; so this is another very important story to tell about the Greek Christian community that lived in Genzano territory a very long time ago, at the beginning of the Christian Era. Here we have to admit that there is no real evidence left and what we are telling here is mostly folklore stories and some logic human explanations when we try to put all what is known together.
We have also to admit that what follows here is mostly guess work, because nobody knows for sure what happened to the Greek people, it is known that they were there and then they were not there anymore, but the facts are not really known and perhaps it is not important to know exactly what happened to them, because here we want only to tell you the story of the Madonna that is going to follow here-under. But for sure there must have been an upheaval of some sort early in the Christian era because; they (the Greek people) seem to have been persecuted and had to run away, and when they left they had to hide away their most precious religious things. So they left behind buried in a secret spot in a little known cave, an effigy of a Madonna, which was to be found much later by the people of Genzano di Lucania.
How they came about to find this Madonna icon later on just about everybody in Genzano seems to know the story, because it is a story that has been told from generation to generation, since they found this Madonna, so just about everybody in Genzano could tell you their own version easily. Therefore, I had only to find a few names and a few dates to write my own version down, which I would like to tell you here and now.

 The Madonna story

The Madonna story
One day in the year of our Lord 1619 there was this fourteen years old youth, whose parents were of a good and honourable family, his name was; Pietro di Giovan Filippo, and he happened to mind some oxen in the fields at that time, he was in the zone that we call Strippara nearby Genzano town where this event took place, in fact it seems to me that he was at the very beginning of the chasm called ‘Del Monte’. So, while he was browsing his oxen there; a Lady all dressed in white appeared to him; and she told him that he should go and tell the people of Genzano that, they should go into the chasm near the fountain of Capo d’aqua, and dig in the cave that was once known to have been in the vineyard of ‘Don Fabio’ and they would find her image there. The youth went to town and told the people and the priest of the apparition of this great Lady, but they were not sure whether to believe him or not; so nothing was done about it at that point of time. But after a few days or a week or two, the Lady in white appeared to the youth again; But this time she asked the youth to open his hand, and she wrote in his hand a message to the priest, she closed the youth hand and told him to go to the priest and show him that writing. The youth now with his closed fist that he could not or would not open for fear ran into the town and found the priest, and told him about the second apparition of the Lady in white, and that the Lady had written on his hand in his closed fist something; the priest took his hand to see and there in front of the priest he could open his hand again; and in his hand the priest could see the message which read (I am Maria Santissima Delle Grazie, and come to find me).
So, now the priest had no doubt in his mind from where that message was coming, and he assembled the people of Genzano and told them the facts. A search was organized, and they dug in and around the said cave for a very long time, and not knowing exactly where else to dig, they also dug farther up the mountain, where they found some human remains and other object as evidence that there once lived eremites. The search went on for about two long years and therefore they became tired of it. And it seemed to them at that time, that there was not a real Madonna image to be found, because the only image of a Madonna that they had found there was a Madonna traced over the sand which was slowly disappearing. And thinking that this would be all that they could find, they decided to give up the search, but at the same time they would build a small chapel in honour of this Madonna. But while they were digging the foundation for this chapel, a whole heap of very hard rock fell from the chasm’s wall above, which showed them that there was a smaller cave near the old cave higher up in the chasm’s wall, and in this small cave they found a few religious items, including a small image of St. Peter on a brick, but there was no Madonna.

 The Madonna is found

So they decided to remove the fallen rocks and sort them out, so that they could use those rocks to build part of the chapel anyhow. And then it happened; it happened the 25th day of March 1621 late in the afternoon, it was about the time when in the church they say this afternoon prayer called Vespers, at this time of the day most people that are in the country would pack up to go home. But there was a worker working at the fallen stone heap, and although he was tired he felt that he wanted to do just a little bit more before he would turn in, so he kept working just a little bit extra: His name was ‘Giovanni Malatesta’ and he was digging with a pick to get the stones loose from the fallen heap of rocks, when he hit a very hard rock, and a beautiful aroma filled the air: he had struck with his pick the sculpture of the ‘Madonna with Child’. What a shock to this man must have been, when he realised that he struck with his pick the icon of the Madonna over the eye. They say that he never was the same man again from the shock, and it is said that he died early in his life not long after this event took place.
As soon as they realised that they had found the Madonna, somebody ran up the road to town, to let the people of Genzano know that they had finely found the Madonna icon, and the good news spread so fast, and most of the town’s folks went to see for themselves, even though it was already evening and it soon would be dark.
The whole town was in feast for a very long time afterward.
All the religious authorities were in due time advised about the finding of the Madonna icon, and they took part in the prescribed religious events that followed. A Chapel was built on the spot where they had found the Madonna, with the intention that one day they would build a church there. After they found the icon of the Madonna with Child many people came to adore this Madonna, they came from the surrounding towns and also from far away towns and they received so many miracles from this Madonna that would be even hard just to count their number.

 Taking the Madonna to town

But there is still an extra story to tell about this Madonna, this story might be a bit out of the ordinary ways that normal things happen, and therefore today many people might not believe it, but then we have to think that here we are talking about Madonnas and therefore also miracles, we also have to keep in mind that the old people believed that it really happened, so let us tell you the story just the way it has been told and retold many times from the elders of the town.
The folklore story of this Madonna goes on to tell us, that while they were taking the Madonna effigy they had found at Capodaqua to the town church, of Maria SS Della Platea, which was the main church of the town, when they reached the entrance of the town, as you know in those times every town had their entrance doors that were shut at night to guard against thieves and assaults from outside, anyhow when they reached the entrance of the town the Madonna effigy became very heavy, it was so heavy that the bears had to stop and set the devise they were carrying the Madonna with on the ground.
Then when they tried to lift her off the ground again they could not lift her; so the priest and the town authorities started to think, why this was happening and what they could do to fix this unseen problem, some wise man started saying that perhaps the Madonna wanted to be recognized that she was a very powerful being, and to recognize her the best thing to do was to give her the keys of the town and hope that this was what the Madonna wanted, so somebody went to fetch the keys and placed the keys beside her effigy, and soon the effigy became light again and they were able to take her through the entrance of the town and then into the church. This is one of the folklore stories of this Madonna.
Now let me add this last bit to the story, I remember when I was young that at this same entrance the Madonna came into Genzano town the first time; sometimes would come some peregrines to adore this Madonna with child, and they were bringing with them a little statue of a child, I don’t know exactly what all this meant, but there is a phrase in the Genzanese dialect “U bambnid d Frenz” meaning the little baby Jesus of Forenza; Farenza is a town that would take several hours to walk to reach Genzano, and they did all this walking to come and adore this Madonna, there were really believers in those old days.
The people of Genzano celebrate the feast of this Madonna every year and here is a link of the procession in the very old part of Genzano, I hope it works for you:
The Madonna church
The Madonna church
Some years had passed by from the day that they found the Madonna icon, when somebody dreamed that the Madonna wanted a church of her own built on a hill called ‘Montefreddo’, as it happened the night that the dreamer dreamed was snowing, but in the morning the snow had melted away everywhere except where the dreamer had dreamed that the Madonna wanted her church built. The dreamer told her dream to the people of Genzano, which then they understood and took notice of the strange event of the snow. Therefore it was then decided that the new church would have to be built where that large patch of snow was left. And this is the reason why the church of this Madonna was built on Montefreddo.
With the building of the Madonna church many more devotees came to adore this Madonna, and they prayed to her for graces or miracles; and many graces they received in return, so this Madonna sanctuary grew and became well known all around the country for a few centuries, but then one day a fire broke out in the crowded church, because they had too many things going on at the same time and some people perished. After that it was closed for a while and when they fixed opened it again, it was not as popular as before.
Nowadays, although this Madonna church has been damaged badly twice by earthquake and once by fire, as we have said above, it has been rebuilt and restored and it is still very popular, but not quite as much as it used to be, I suppose it is the sign of the times, because people nowadays don’t believe in religion as much as they used to do in the old times.
Anyhow, in the town of Genzano of nowadays, we still celebrate a great feast for this Madonna, the yearly festivity for this Madonna are held for three days the first week end in August. We will have to come back to tell you about these festivities later on; because now I would like to tell you what else the people of Genzano did after they found the Madonna at Capo D’aqua.

 Madonna chapel and fountain

The Madonna chapel and Capo D'aqua fountain
Let us go back at the site where they found the Madonna and what the people of Genzano did soon after they found this Madonna; we have already mentioned above that they were going to built a chapel, and so they built the chapel; but at the same time they built a larger fountain, because when the people of Genzano were digging to find the Madonna icon, they also found another large spring of water, so they channelled this water to make a larger fountain nearby that to these days is called Capo d’aqua, because on the abundance of this spring waters.
Since then this fountain has been rebuilt and enlarged about year 1800, in order to serve the people of Genzano as the population was growing larger. The fountain has inscribed in a corner the name of a certain ‘Lepore’, perhaps he was the mayor of the town at the time when they built or rebuilt the fountain. It is a large and abundant spring fountain situated just downstream from where they had found the Madonna, and just about where the Del’monte chasm and the Greek chasm meet, but well before they merge with St. Michael chasm downstream. The fountain was built as a simple country fountain, and it has five or six large troughs of about three metre long and one metre wide, all built of solid and simple masonry. There are reasons to believe that the people of Genzano have used a lot this outside town fountain, because there was no reticulated water in town in those times.
So, this fountain was used in various ways, as there are two troughs which have three and four water sprouts each, which are fed from the spring and are constantly pouring water into the troughs. The two troughs with the sprouts are reserved for the animals to drink, and for those people that want to fill some sorts of vessels straight from the sprouts. From these two troughs then the water runs out into the rest of the troughs, and these secondary troughs were used to do the town’s washing, since there was no reticulated water in town in those times.
Capo d’aqua fountain was very popular in the old times, there was even a song that a young girl used to sing happily, she would sing about the time when she would go to Capo d’aqua fountain to do the washing. I can still remember a few of the dialect verses, and they go like this:
My Italian dialect verses.
Me chiam Rosa e teng vent’ann
E a Capodaqua ije lav li pann
Kess eij la dota ca me dai mam
na strecatora e na cest de pann.
English version
My name is Rose and I am twenty
And a Capo d’aqua I wash the clothes
This is the dowry that my mother gives me,
A scrubbing board and a basket for clothes.
There is a longer version of the washing lady written from the writer 'Angelo Valente' which must be a lot closer to the original; I am going to post it in my blogs
I believe that by now I have said enough about the Madonna story and the fountain of Capo D’aqua, situated in the town that I have come from. I hope that you my readers by now have got a pretty good idea what it was like then, and also what was like over there when I was young. So, now I would like to talk about my own life and personal experience for a couple more articles, before I migrated for Australia, and after that I will be telling you my life story when I was here in Australia.
Simple man life observations
Welcome to my hub (17), ‘Life observations’.
My life memories and observations
We have to learn from our own life and our observation of life; first of all let us just observe what I am doing just now: Well I am writing my own life observations in this article, we will call this first part, simple man life observations; and then, observe and learn from life, let me talk about my childhood and my childhood pains; one can still learn from the hurting part of life. Here I have to make to following observation, which is that this hub or article could have been the beginning of my life story; instead I have moved it towards the end of the first part of my life story, which is the story of my life before I migrated to Australia.
Anyhow, as I said we have to observe and learn, and then when we can try to use our observations to guide us during our life; our observations of life if we remember them well, they would be like our own shadow that follows us everywhere we go and it never fails, so let us all learn from life by observing whatever happens around us. I know that sometimes we might want to forget what has happened to us, because it is painful to recall, but even those painful memories are worth remembering, because they might teach us to avoid them next time. Now let us look at my own life story and observation and perhaps compare them with today’s living.
Looking at the ways that we live today, one could certainly say that living today is not as simple and easy as it used to be, because of the changing ways of living that progress has brought with it, and living one’s own life today is a very complex event that needs to be looked at closely, even if it is just a normal simple life of a simple man like me.
You see, in the old times it was easier, because life usually would follow the same pattern as the generation before us, so everybody would copy the previous generation. But today is different, because things have changed and continue to change, so, we have to change also if we want to succeed in life.
Today when we start thinking about the beginning of our own life no one could ever tell and no one could ever even guess what life would or could be bringing to any of us. Of course the best way for any of us is to plan ahead how we would like to live our own life; and here I mean that we should really make up our own mind about what we want to do with our own life, and then try hard to keep to the chosen plan if we can.
But even if one plans well ahead, there are times during our life when one has got to do whatever is most appropriate at that particular time in order to survive and thrive, and be able to earn our own living. Therefore even if we have made up our own mind, and perhaps we have decided that we wants to study, or we wants to learn a trade, or do something special during our own life, it may not happen just the planed way, because life events may override those decisions, so we may end up doing a different job, or being something else other than what we had planned to do in the beginning. But then because these things happen we learn from life what we need to do and we do them since that is the best way to solve the problem. You see, we need to observe and lean, it is necessary to do that even if it is done just to survive those times that we happen to live in.

Observe and learn from life
We should observe life events and learn from them
We have to learn to accept life just the way it comes, because sometimes this is the only thing that we would be able to do, without upsetting ourselves too much; I am saying this because, during my life I have had a few of those life experiences that are not the best; but I could do nothing about it to change the outcome, so I had to accept them and continue to live the best way I could.
Today, I am looking back at my life that I have already lived, and I am thinking that I have already lived the most important part of my life. You see, I happen to be in my sixties while I am writing this page here for the first time; so, I can look back at my life and wonder at the great changes of lifestyles that we have been living in this new present era including my own life. While I am looking at these changes I also wonder at the events that have changed our lifestyle, and also of how it all has been happening and still keeps happening and changing even now while I am writing here this article.
Therefore, right at this very moment I am wondering why I am writing this at all, because writing articles is new to me and so it is still another one of my lifestyle changes, which has been brought about from those changing life events, you see when I was young I could never have guessed that one day I could be writing something and be able to publish it in something called the Internet, and I would be writing in a language that was and is not my native tongue.
All this has happened to me, because there have been lots of changes since I was born, there were life events that have changed my lifestyle during my life, and so they have forced me to change and to adjust with them as required; and it was one of these changes during one stage of my life, when I felt the need to start writing, so that I could fulfil one of my emotional personal needs. And in doing so I have written a few things, which I would very much like to preserve at least for the time being, although sometimes I wonder whether my personal written articles are really worth to be saved.
But here I am talking about my own personal writings, and even if they are worth nothing to the rest of the world, they are my personal writings and my experience of life, and therefore I would like to keep them forever while I am still alive, and perhaps even after I am dead, if they could make sense to anybody, so that, if one day somebody happens to read my personal writings they will be able to understand them. So, now I will try to write them down in a way that people will understand them. So here are my life events and changes, according to the observations of my own life, as it evolved starting from when I was a child, so let me talk about my childhood now and the problems that I went through when I was very young.

Talking about my childhood

Dear readers, as we have said before this article could have been the beginning of my life story, but now it is in the middle, just because I have not been able to say all this before; therefore now let me go back in time and talk about my early childhood, so that I would be able to write a record of my life; I was born near the end of the year 1938, and that is before the Second World War started. I was the second child in my family, my brother is only thirteen months older than myself, and for my parents my birth was too soon after their first born. They wanted more children of course, but they wanted them to be born a little more far apart; so I was welcome and unwelcome at once, at least this is the way that I have understood it.

I was born a good healthy boy, but in those days medicine was not as advanced as nowadays, so they didn’t immunise children as much as they do today, because of this lack of knowledge I did not receive Whooping Cough immunisation as a child I caught the Whooping Cough, and although I was lucky and survived it, since then I have kept coughing on for the rest of my life, and therefore I have never been able to completely get rid of my coughing problem, because the Whooping Cough most of the time leaves this condition to whoever caches it for the rest of their lives. At least this is how my own mother has explained my coughing condition to me.

Another health scare and a scar happened when I was three or four years old: I was playing with my brother who was older than me by one year, and while we were playing I don’t know why he hit me with a heavy boot in my face; so that, my nose started bleeding, and it bled for a very long time, that even my parents became very worried, they tried everything they knew and somehow they helped me stop the bleeding, but since then my nose has been bleeding very easily. My nose bleeding has been a real problem with me when I was a kid, and even when I was an adult it kept bleeding very easily. But when I was a teenager has been the worst, and my nose used to bleed day after day up to three times a day. Part of my nose bleeding problem could also be attributed to the way of life that I was living in the farm, as in summer times I had to be in the hot sun a lot of times, and the heat expansion would make my nose bleed, and in winter times because I would catch cold in the cold weather my nose would be bleeding also; but part of this nose bleeding could be attributed to the boot in the face that I received from my brother, as I believe that it weakened my blood vessels in my nose.

However the blood loss and a poor diet in the farm made me grow very skinny, so skinny that one could say that I had all the signs of malnutrition, I was so skinny that one could count my bony ribs, and I was also so light that other boys would sometimes make fun of me, when we were playing and they used to lift me up.
I need to say also, that all these hardships and poor health that I have suffered when I was young; they are also due to the greatest drawback of my life, which happened when I was about five years old. Because then Fate struck a heavy blow to my own parents, as my father and three work horses perished from a lightning strike, while they were carrying on a cart one of the last loads of wheat of the season from a far away field.

Death in the family and the greatest drawback of my life
When this great misfortune happened, we were left with no father and with great financial loss. With the death of my father from this most dreadful misfortune everything changed for the worst for us children, therefore, all the good chances that we could have had in our younger life were taken away, and all the dreams that our parents had for us children came to an abrupt end.
So after our father misfortune, our family that consisted then, of my mother and two boys and a girl that is including myself, we were left in a very poor position to prepare for a decent future life.
My mother had to rely on her two younger brothers, who were only still teenagers at that time, and they had to help her to run our small family farm, so that we could earn a living, as in those days there was no help from the government whatsoever, we were on our own.
So when I was about ten years old, because my family could not afford any longer to hire a youth to help in the farm, I was chosen to help in the farm, instead of my brother who was one year older than me, and by right he should have been chosen to help in the farm.
So, I instead of continuing to go to school and get a better education, I had to go to help in our family farm, and this became later on the greatest drawback of my life.

The way of life in the farm was very boring when I was a child, as it had been for centuries before my time. But before my time people didn’t know how to live a better life, so it didn’t matter that much to them at that time, since most of the male farmers then lived in their farms all their lives, and everybody around them would be at the same level of awareness, so, nobody would ever think that life was boring in the farm, as they would happily accept life as it was then, and they didn’t worry if the lot of them were dull people compared to the towns’ people; as it was only because they were less educated and lived a lonely and boring life, but they were happy just the same and some of us would thing that we were better off than the town people, because there was always something to eat in the farm, compared to the towns’ people who sometimes went hungry, when they had no money.
 Anyhow, the way of life that I was living in the farm, which had been all right for my forbears up to the time when I was young, now was becoming old fashioned during my youth, and therefore it was not right any more to live in such a way, because everything was changing quickly. 

So, I have been very unfortunate as a young man, because everything that had been unchanged for centuries started to change, and most of the people that were living in the towns who before depended from the farming sector to earn a living slowly became better off than us in the farms, but before my time these people usually depended from the farmers for a living, and now everything seemed to swing the opposite way in their favour.
Because of the changing way of living and farming, it became very hard for us to live in the farm and earn a living, so in the end I had to leave our small family farm, in order to earn a better living somewhere else. And it was then that I realised that all the work that I had done in the farm and what I had learned in the farm as a youth, and the time that I had spent in the farm had been a complete waste of time. Because I had to start all over again somewhere else, and I would be doing something else completely different in order to earn a better living; but these things happen in life and we have to accept them, as there is no other way out. The only thing we can do is observe and learn from life.
Therefore because of the changes of life style, which brought about more hardship than usual to the small farm owners, I was forced to leave my small family farm and the town where I was born, in order to find a better living standard away from home.
So, I migrated to Australia.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.
Life means whatever you want it to mean even when it hurts
Now, let us look at my life like a philosopher would look at it, let us learn whatever we can learn from it, and so let us talk about the hurting part of life in the farms and the personal consequences that it brought to us young farmer:
Here I need also to explain that while I was editing this hub I have realized that I want to add the following article in this hub, it seems to me that it is the most appropriate place to write this; here I am talking about the hurting part of live that we had to go through in our young life, because it left us in a disadvantaged position, and how all this has affected my entire life.
But first of all let me explain also that life means whatever we want it to mean even when it hurts us, as we always learn something from it, so even if I am going to lament my bad luck here-under, we all should take it as a lesson from life. Here let us be a bit of a philosopher and let us study the fundamental problems of life from our own life.
I need to say that, when one goes through all these hard life experiences in the farm, one knows that it is really hard life farming, but we the farmers of those times kept working in our farms to feed the rest of the community anyhow, and even if we were working our guts out, and while we were doing that we were becoming dull, but we did our part to support the rest of the community anyhow.
Now you mark my words, because what I am writing about here is something old, but for me it is as if it only happened yesterday, so let me say this like in the present tense; at the time when this was happening the rest of the town’s community doesn’t see it that way, and they think that we are stupid people that just work our guts out, because we are dull and don’t know better.
So this attitude of the community hurts every farming hand very much, and most of all the young farm hands and those who would become young farmers later on also, since this are the harsh thanks that we receive from the town’s community for doing what we had to do.
But what’s hurting us the young farmers most of all, it is when the towns people seem to laugh at us because we have become dull compared to themselves; this is the way that we are being treated from the rest of the town’s community and it hurts too much: So we the hurt ones, we feel that we want to shout into their faces that they should be ashamed of themselves because; They have first sacrificed us, as they have put us in a position where we could not improve ourselves, instead of treating us in the same way as they did for themselves, and then they laugh at us because we have become dull. What a shame! Genzano town’s folks, (including also all other towns around) you should be ashamed of yourselves! Because you first sacrifice your own children by sending them to work at a very early age, and then you laugh at their sacrifice, only because through their sacrifice they have become dull. Shame on you Genzano’s folks!
Anyhow, whatever has been, it has been and we can only learn something from it, if we have observed what has happened and learned from it.
What I have written above has been my life and the way that I have lived it up when I was young, and now allow me to say that I have been unlucky to have lived such a hard life when I was young, but at the same time I feel that it is all over and I am lucky now. I have to think that way, because that is the only way to find peace within oneself.
I suppose that what I have been saying above seems already out of time, as if it is hundreds of years old, but it is not, because it all happened during my life, so how are today people going to compare my life story to today’s living is hard to tell, but it would be helpful if they could.
But now let me finish this article by saying that somehow I have written already the story of my life when I was young, but there are a couple more articles that I need to write before I start the second part of my life story after I migrated to Australia. This two article one is about the poor outcome of my psychological love life, due to the facts that I was poorly prepared, and therefore I will lament that, because that has affected me all my life; the second one is about to compare the way of farming and how better off we are today. Then I will have to start my second part of my life story, beginning from when I migrated to Australia and what I did in Australia.
In this second part, I will be speaking from Australia, and therefore I will be telling you to start with about the town that I came from, which I believe that might very well be interesting to know, so that you my readers may understand better what was going on during my entire life. So, after I have written my next two articles, I will start telling you about the town that I come from, Genzano di Lucania, this town is called with this longer name, because there is another Genzano town in Italy and that one is Genzano di Roma. Anyhow let me close this article by saying that next hub will be my psychological hub called, midway love story.


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