Preggio and the Holy Thorn

S. Francis, to reach the mountain of La Verna, where he received the stigmata, two years before his death, passed from Preggio…where he established a convent in 1217: today the parish church, built in the thirteenth century by Franciscan Fathers and dedicated to him. Tradition says that one of his brothers, in return from the Holy Land, led a thorn from the Holy Crown of Jesus, still preserved in the church. The thorn is enclosed in a reliquary of gold and silver and is exposed to the veneration of the faithful on Easter Tuesday. That day is removed from the solemn shrine with seven locks, whose keys are assigned by lottery to as many families of the place: thus it is impossible to open the Tabernacle if there aren’t all custodians of the seven keys. You access the apse – where the Tabernacle placed – side by two short flights of steps. Here you can see the picture of sixteenth-century Venetian school – “Ecce homo” -, the primary custody of the Holy Thorn and a beautiful wooden crucifix of 1200.

Preggio is a lovely town surrounded by dense forests and chestnut. Just outside the ancient walls of the castle is the church of Madonna delle Grazie, which contains a fresco of the Virgin and Child attributed to Pinturicchio (1496).

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Miracles of Castel Rigone.

Many places of worship arose where there were already a hermitage, a chapel with the relics of a saint or shrine with the image of the Virgin and, after a miraculous event, became the object of particular popular devotion. This is what happened to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Miracles of Castel Rigone built in the sixteenth century near a bush that, uprooted for the behest of a “beautiful lady” appeared to the domestic servant of the parish priest in 1490, showed a stretch of wall with the beautiful image of the Virgin suckling her Divine Son. On the place where it was found was then built a Sanctuary and the painting is part of its perimeter…

…The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Miracles of Castel Rigone was built in the sixteenth century when Pope Alexander VI received the petition of local residents and authorized the construction in 1494. Not far from the temple is still the public well of 1367 when the domestic servant of the parish priest went for water. The chronicles want that in 1490 the young girl have seen leaving, by a large bush growing nearby, a lovely lady who, approached her, would ask to report the country its desire to see a chapel erected in that point. The appearance would be repeated several times until the “Lady” would have shown to the unbelieving people its true nature, sent home the young girl with the jug overturned on head, but full of water. So the people shout a miracle, ran to cut the thorns, which concealed a stretch of wall with the beautiful image of the Virgin suckling the baby Jesus.

Two Papal Bulls confirm the prodigious events that occurred through the intercession of Blessed Virgin Mary which was immediately awarded the noble title of Our Lady of Miracles. We do not know who the author of the painting with the sweet image is, certainly much earlier than the construction of the temple and probably run by one of the many painters that in the late Middle Ages ranged from country to country offering their services in exchange of board and lodging. The upper crown of the Angels is of a later period. Of great value is the gate of sixteenth century that closes the Chapel. The Virgin lavished abundant graces to those who asked with confidence and also the City of Perugia had recourse to Our Lady of Castel Rigone for deliverance from the plague that snaked around and accompanied the prayer with a generous offer. This, added to those of many faithfuls from all over came to plead for help and protection, allowed the construction of the Sanctuary. In it you can admire numerous paintings and frescoes by important artists of 1500.

The Bed of St. Francis.

Near Castel Rigone there is a rock which tradition says that St. Francis would use as a bed. There is the roadsign between Castel Rigone and Preggio.