Our Lady ConsolataThe devotion to Our Lady Consolata, whose famous Shrine is located in Turin, Italy, goes back to early Christianity. It developed from the veneration of an icon of the Blessed Mother and Child which pious tradition attributes to St. Luke.
According to this tradition, St. Eusebius brought the icon from Egypt to Italy in the fourth century, and sent it to Turin. St.Maximus, Bishop of Turin from 380 to 420, placed the icon in a small Marian Shrine in the northwest corner of the city.
The devotion to Our Lady Consolata fostered by St. Maximus continued to spread until the Iconoclasts tried to destroy the crucifixes, images, and relics of the saints. The Consolata icon, however, was not destroyed, but remained hidden in a crypt of St. Andrew's Chapel, in Turin, till the beginning of theeleventh century.In 1014, Arduino,Marquis of Ivrea, who was then seriously ill, had a vision of the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady appeared to him requesting that he built a chapel under the title of Our Lady Consolata in the Church of St. Andrew. She promised his health would be restored. The Marquis was infact miraculously cured. Deeply touched by the favors of the Blessed Virgin, Arduino earnestly undertook the construction of the chapel. During the works of excavation, the icon of the Consolata was recovered in the midst of great joy and awe. It was then enshrined above the altar of the new chapel, and the shrine soon became for the people a"Place of Grace."
During the course of the following century, the continuous civil warfare almost completely destroyed the city of Turin, and the chapel which the Marquis had built for the Consolata icon lay long-forgotten in ruins.
In 1104, John Ravais, a blind man from Briancon, France, in a dream had a vision: buried under the ruins of an old church, he saw a painting of Our Lady. It was revealed to him that the site was in Turin, Italy, and that through him Our Blessed Lady would again be honored in that place. She also promised him that his sight would be restored.
He journeyed to Turin as the vision directed. The excavation works began at the site: upon the blind man's urgings the crowds brought picks and shovels and uncovered first the remains of an old chapel and then the undamaged painting of Our Lady, the Consolata icon! It was June 20, 1104.
Deeply moved by the miracle which had occurred, the citizens of Turin rebuilt the little chapel into a large Shrine where they have continued, through the centuries, to venerate Our Lady Consolata.
Devotion to the Consolata was given addedimpetus when Pope Leo XIII, consenting to many requests, established a proper Mass and Office of the Consolata, to be celebrated in the Diocese of Turin each year on June 20.Blessed Joseph Allamano, rector of the Consolata Shrine, founded the Institute of the Consolata Missionary Fathers and Brothers on January 29, 1901 and that of the Consolata Missionary Sisters on January 29, 1910. "They shall proclaim my Glory to the nations" is the motto that Blessed Joseph Allamano gave to his missionaries. With Our Lady Consolata we continue to proclaim to the world Jesus, the true Consolation of humankind.