The statue of Our Lady of Sorrows in the church of Santa Brigida, Naples.
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in the church of San Domenico Soriano in Naples, Italy.
A Neapolitan print of the Immaculate Conception and various symbols of Mary’s purity.
Immacolata di Don Placido
The statue of Mary Immaculate in the basilica of Gesù Vecchio, Naples. In 1826 the Madonna of Don Placido was crowned by the Vatican Chapter and declared the protectress of Naples.
Madonna di Don Placido
A vintage postcard of the Madonna venerated in the basilica of Gesù Vecchio, the old Jesuit church in Naples. Mary is shown above the city of Naples, with the Vesuvius in the background.
A painting of Our Lady of Sorrows in the church of Trinità dei Pellegrini in Naples, Italy.
The high altar of the Gèsu Nuovo, Naples’ most important Jesuit church. The altar was constructed in the 17th century. The massive marble statue of the Immaculate Conception dates from 1859.
Upon visiting the church, I found the altar and statue quite awe inspiring. It fits perfectly with the Jesuits’ Counter Reformation efforts to create a sacred theatre for the celebration of the liturgy.
The altar of Our Lady of Sorrows in the church of Santa Brigida in Naples, Italy.
Madonna della Medaglia Miracolosa
The statue of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in the church of San Domenico Soriano in Naples, Italy.
Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, based on an apparition of Mary in Paris in 1830.
Madonna delle Anime
The Madonna of Souls in the sacristy of the church of Santa Maria delle anime del Purgatorio (Our Lady of the souls in Purgatory) in Naples, Italy.
The church was built in the 17th century and consists of an upper and lower space. The latter is meant to create an impression of purgatory for those still alive. The space became the focal point of a popular local cult. Many Neapolitans would adopt one of the skulls kept in the lower church, which had previously been a burial ground. The adopter would pray for the release of the deceased person’s soul from purgatory. Then, once the soul arrived in heaven, they were expected to pray for the adopter’s soul in return.
The cult of the souls of purgatory, even though official forbidden by a Church decree in 1969, is still very much alive in Naples. Votive candles and offerings are still left by devotees in the underground purgatorial church.