The Miracle of Madonna Della Cava

The Miracle of Madonna Della Cava

In the early 13th century, in the village of Trapani, in the northwest corner of Sicily lived a young mute boy. He had lost the ability to speak at birth. One night, the Madonna Della Cava visited him in a dream. She said to him: “Come in and uncover me from the ground”. The Madonna told the young boy where she lay buried, in the nearby town of Ronzi in the central province of Enna. The next morning, the boy awoke and tried to tell his mother about his dream. But the mother dismissed his story, thinking it to be only his imagination.

The Madonna Della Cava Society of Boston’s North End

The Madonna visited the boy in a second dream and instructed him again to come in and uncover her. A second time, the boy told his mother about the dream and again the mother ignored her son. Finally, a third time, the Madonna Della Cava visited the young boy in a dream. She implored him to uncover her from the earth. This time, the boy pleaded so strenuously to his mother that she was finally convinced that there might be some merit to his dreams.

Cave of the Madonna Della Cave Pietraperzia, Sicily

Hence, the mother, son and other villagers who were equally impressed with the story of the boy’s dream traveled to the town of Ronzi. There, they began to dig in one area. They did not find the Madonna, so they erected a shrine on the site of this digging in her honor. Then, they again began digging in a second spot, all to no avail. They erected still another shrine on the spot of this second excavation. On the third effort, the people found their reward. In the ground lay an enormous, beautifully shining stone with the image of the Madonna Della Cava painted on it.  The villagers knelt and humbled themselves before this image of Madonna Della Cava. Suddenly, the little boy’s speech was miraculously restored. This is the miracle of the Madonna Della Cava. The villagers of Trapani tried carrying this stone back to their town. In attempting this, the stone fell to the ground and cracked. They interpreted this as a sign that the Madonna belonged where she was uncovered. So, they built a beautiful shrine on the spot where the Madonna was originally found. This became the Madonna Della Cava church, which still stands today. The stone bearing the image of the Madonna rests inside the church near the main altar.

Shrine to the Madonna Della Cava, Pietraperzia, Sicily

Pope Innocencia XIII immediately declared via Papal Doctrine the church to be a true parish . And the town district of Ronzi was re-named “Pietraperzia” – “Pietra” meaning “stone” or “rock” and “Perzia” meaning “town”. The Perzii (the natives of this town), still worship the Madonna Della Cava and look to her for salvation. An annual festival is held there in Sicily on the second week of August in her honor, which has continued over the many centuries to this day.