The Shrine of Our Lady of Mentorella:
The Shrine of Our Lady of Mentorella has been administered
by the Congregation of the Resurrection since 1857. Mentorella
is on a mountain about 40 Km SE of Rome, and about 1000
meters above sea level. It was a favorite place of pilgrimage
for Pope John Paul II. In November of 2006 Pope Benedict XVI made a pilgrimage to Mentorella.
It is said to have been the place of conversion for
St. Eustachius in the 2nd Century. Eustachius was eventually
put to death for his faith. Two centuries later the Emperor
Constantine decided to build a basilica on the spot of
Eustachius’ conversion. It was consecrated by Pope
Silvester I sometime before 335.
In the 6th Century the land was given to the monks of
Subiaco by the Anici family. The 17th century Jesuit
scholar Father Anthanasius Kircher, believed that Mentorella
was one of the 12 abbeys founded by St. Benedict and
that he lived in the adjacent cave for up to two years.
in the middle of the 13th Century the most precious treasure
of Mentorella was created – the wooden statue of
the Madonna. It sits in the church today. The Benedictines
abandoned the abbey at the end of the 14th century and
it fell into disrepair and ruins until Fr. Kircher discovered
Fr. Kircher was responsible for the rebuilding of the
shrine and for restoring the cult of our Lady of Mentorella.
When he died he asked that his heart be buried in the
church. Pope Innocent XIII who was the pope at the time
also requested that his heart be buried in the church.
In 1857 Pope Pius IX placed Mentorella under the care
of the Congregation of the Resurrection, under the guidance
of Fr. Kajsiewicz. The General Chapter of the Congregation
of the Resurrection (1864) was held at Mentorella. In
1864, the Holy Father ceded the Sanctuary of Mentorella
to the Congregation of the Resurrection “ in perpetuum”.
With the fall of the Papal States the Congregation of
the Resurrection purchased the shrine and acquired legal
title to it.
For more information about this holy place of pilgrimage
go to the Mentorella website at www.mentorella.it