This is the story of Our Lady of Ghisallo, “Madonna del Ghisallo”
The Blessed Virgin Mary, as Madonna Del Ghisallo, or Our Lady of Ghisallo, first became known as a patron saint of travelers. She was revered by a nobleman named Count Ghisallo who lived in the village of Magreglio in Italy. One day, Count Ghisallo realized he was being followed by a gang of rogues who were intent on robbing him. He went running up a hill to get away from the thieves and saw a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Count Ghisallo prayed to her and asked for her help and the Virgin Mary interceded and thwarted the robbers. Count Ghisallo was eternally grateful and as news of the rescue spread, people started coming to her statue, asking for safety in their travels.
Over time, Our Lady became duly revered by cyclists who would make pilgrimages to her Chapel. The cyclists began leaving bicycle riding jerseys, pennants from their bike riding clubs, bicycles, and other memorabilia related to cycling. The cyclists also brought photographs of their friends and family members who had been injured or died while on their bicycles.
On October 13, 1949, Peope Pius XII became convinced of the holiness of the Ghisallo Chapel and declared Our Lady of Ghisallo to become Canonized and known as a “saint.” The devotion to Our Lady has never waned and soon there were so many pieces of biking artifacts being left in her reverance, it became necessary to create the Museo del Ciclismo. The creation of the museum only enhanced the popularity of Our Lady. An eternal flame or torch was also erected on the grounds in reverence of the land. A Torch Relay was established and cyclists rode from the Chapel’s grounds to the Vatcian in Rome where the flame was offered and accepted by Pope John Paul II. The Pope also declared that The Feast of All Souls Day, on November 2, shall also be the Feast Day of Our Lady of Ghisallo and many make pilgrimages to Ghisallo on that day. Our Lady’s flame burns bright in remembrance of all those who are in wheelchairs and for those who have been hurt and injured while cycling and also for those who simply love the sport and enjoy the notion of riding on a bike!
This story is dedicated to my brother, Kevin R. Clemenz © 2010 © 2010
Madonna del Ghisallo
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