The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Polsi, also called the Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Mountain, is located in the Sacred Area, in the heart of the Aspromonte, crossed by the torrent of Bonamico. After crossing under the village of San Luca, the torrent flows into in the waters of the Ionian sea. In the period that goes from spring to October, the area around the sacred area comes alive with a large crowd of pilgrims from all over the province of Reggio Calabria, the province of Messina, and from the other areas of Calabria.
Still today, inside the sanctuary is kept the statue of Our Lady of the Mountains of Polsi, a tufa sculpture of great beauty and brilliance to which the citizens are very much connected.
A Sanctuary in Aspromonte
At the foot of the Montalto, the highest peak of the Aspromontano massif, in a deep and lonely valley with high and steep walls, is the Sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of the Mountains of Polsi. Originally it was perhaps the refuge of Byzantine monks who fled from nearby Sicily and retreated in prayer in those solitary and inaccessible places. The Sanctuary is also called the "Mother of the Divine Shepherd", a place where history and legend intertwine.
DID YOU KNOW THAT…?
Many legends are told about Our Lady of Polsi. One of these, perhaps the best known, tells of a shepherd looking for a lost bull. When he found the animal, it dug up an iron cross; then the Blessed Virgin with Child appeared to him and asked him to establish in that place a Church in her honour.
The Most Animated Feast in Calabria
The Feast of Our Lady of the Mountains is a three-day festival with pilgrims from all over Calabria. It takes place in Aspromonte from 31 August - 2 September and begins in the middle of the night, when the statue of the Holy Virgin is carried on the men’s shoulders along the few streets of the hamlet of Polsi. After many hours of walking, she arrives at the top of the mountain.
Some devotees wear distinctive marks, votive dresses or hats with a myriad of Marian medals.The faithful accompany the Lady up into the Sanctuary, where the Holy Mass is celebrated, Afterwards the feast begins with song and dance the whole time, until the last night. On that night, everyone sleeps inside the sanctuary, as was done in the pagan ritual.
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