Sunday 30th August 2020
I wanted to share with you, my joy .. gained from an experience lived in these years. It was April / May 2014, when all of a sudden my life changed ... I started having "strange nightmares", the more time passed the more persistent they became, to the point of not being able to rest anymore! For me, going to sleep in the evening was no longer a rest, it scared me so much! I began to have the first ailments: panic attacks, tachycardia, and a strange feeling of suffocation. Gradually these nightmares did not give me peace even during the day, I felt guilty because I could not take care of my family, my children or housework because I felt too weak and sometimes I stayed in bed all day. I didn't talk to anyone about it, but I did some checks and nothing came out, I just asked the Lord to make me understand what was happening to me. After about 5 months, they told me about S. Michele Arcangelo and Salvo Valenti, they gave me some pictures of the Petralia painting and I instinctively wore them for months. I started to have the first benefits and the feeling of suffocation went away. I did not know who St. Michael the Archangel was and so, through the internet sites and face books, I documented myself, I learned about the pilgrimages and I couldn't wait to go there, but unfortunately for health reasons another year has passed and in September of 2015 for the first time, I went to Petralia Sottana and climbed the mountain where the painting of S. Michele is placed. It was an exciting pilgrimage, there were many testimonies, and right there I got the answers I was asking, so I promised myself to return with my family. In June 2017 I was able to talk to Salvo and tell him my story and with great amazement he told me that "he had seen all the dreams I had had". He advised me to go up to the mountain and pray to St. Michael with an Our Father, so that I would no longer have those nightmares and that what was happening to me was the work of a curse they had done to me. I can't describe how I felt, and I still feel today! I had never heard of these things, I didn't think they really happened. But my greatest luck is that on this path I met the Archangel San Michele and the Capo d'Orlando prayer group, so I started going to the prayer that the groups recite every 29th of the month, and finally after 6 years "I healed! I feel free! " And today I am here once again, on this mountain, to thank God and St. Michael the Archangel for this gift received and to share this story of mine with all of you. Thank you.
Maria Concetta Lo Iacono
Fortress of Caprileone (ME)
Sunday 13 May 2012
h 7: 00
It is a beautiful sunny day and the morning breeze makes everything special. It is Sunday and Mother's Day.
Many are still sleeping, depriving themselves of the tranquility and peace that only the morning can give. Many others, on the other hand, are preparing for an event, something they have been waiting for for a long time, whose time has finally come.
Among these people there is me too, whose wait was longer than the other people, considering that since it all started I have been aware of it.
The day set for the placement of the painting of St. Michael the Archangel on the mountain of Petralia Sottana has come, precisely the place where he himself wanted to be led, as he explicitly said in a dream.
We agreed to meet all of us at nine and then make our way together and reach Petralia at 11, in time for the Holy Mass.
I have breakfast. The day will be long and full of emotions, so better prepare yourself well.
h 8: 00
I get ready quickly. Salvo, and his mother are waiting for me downstairs and many people have already arrived who will follow us along the way.
I feel particularly good, even though I really can't believe what is happening. It seems very little time has passed since St. Michael appeared to Salvo in a dream, but a few years have already passed. These hours will be the last hours I will spend with the painting, before leaving it for good where it is right.
The phone rings. They are all waiting for me.
I quickly go down the stairs and after a short run I reach Salvo, who has already taken the painting and placed it on the car. There are five of us on the car, so we are forced to change the position of the picture several times. After the first tests we finally manage to find the right way to arrange the painting so as not to scratch it and not to break the glass, and at the same time we make sure that nobody gets hurt along the way. We place it behind, in a transversal sense, entrusting Salvo's mother with the task of holding it by the upper edges.
As soon as the operation is completed we set off, followed by three or four cars in which people from Ficarazzi are traveling, aware of the facts and eager to take part in the event.
At a quarter past 9 we reach the Bagheria motorway junction, where other people are waiting for us, some I know (some relatives of my boyfriend), others never seen before. We don't even wait 5 minutes, as they are all right on time.
Finally we take the highway that will lead us to Petralia. The sun begins to shine stronger and stronger and in the car it is hot.
I turn around to look at the painting. It is beautiful, so beautiful that I am sorry that Salvo will have to leave it in Petralia. On the other hand, I feel within me a deep serenity and a bliss that I had not felt for a long time. It is true that I will not be able to study for the whole day, but that does not bother me particularly. The cause is right and I can only be happy.
I look at Salvo and I see great joy in him. Today is a special day and he has been waiting for it for a long time now.
We reach the Buonfornello service area around 10:30 am, where some friends of Salvo and my father, from Messina and its province, are waiting for us to reach Petralia. I recognize many of them, others I have never seen.
After a coffee we set off again, headed for the destination.
Once at the Tremonzelli junction we are joined by other people, coming from Catania and Caltanissetta. This time I don't see any familiar faces.
h 11: 00
After about an hour and a half of travel we finally reach Petralia and we meet in a square where we can park the cars and then proceed on foot towards the cathedral where the Holy Mass will be celebrated.
In front of me there is a crowd of people, adults, children, the elderly, all eager to look at the painting of St. Michael, still in the car. In the meantime, I decide to look for a place in the shade.
Salvo takes the painting and loads it on his shoulders, heading towards the cathedral.
Everyone goes after him, along an uphill road. I, who had stopped for a drink, ran over to him and proceeded beside him, hearing the comments of the locals, whose facial expressions are halfway between amazement and curiosity. Many seem to me not to be aware of the event, others join us and follow us to the cathedral.
After a walk of about 10 minutes we arrive in front of the cathedral, where on the threshold there is the local priest, Don Santo Scileppi, who welcomes two parents and a child to be baptized.
It is really a busy day for the priest: a baptism and the painting of St. Michael to be placed on the mountain.
At 11: 30 the Mass begins and during it the celebration of baptism. At the end of the liturgy, the priest invites Salvo to go up to the altar, where the painting had previously been placed, and to tell his experience to all the faithful present there, outlining the individual phases that marked this story.
Salvo, excited by having to speak in front of all those people, climbs on the altar, approaching the priest who in the meantime gives him the microphone to be easily heard throughout the church.
At first he has difficulty speaking words, considering that he has not even prepared a speech. He looks at the faithful, the priest and the painting, then finally begins his story. He doesn't seem excited anymore, and talks as if he's telling old friends about himself and his life.
I didn't expect him to be able to contain the anxiety of speaking in public, but I have to change my mind, admitting to myself that I too am deeply touched by that speech, just me who until recently was a bit skeptical.
Salvo tells the whole story from the day he bought the painting depicting St. Michael the Archangel, the repeated dreams, the desire expressed by the Archangel to be taken to the top of the mountain, his decision to satisfy that request, the courage to tell the story. happened without fear of being considered a 'visionary'.
I listen to his words and feel I was wrong not to believe everything from the very moment he told me about it for the first time. I look astonished at the audience of faithful, friends, relatives, simple acquaintances, perfect strangers meeting by chance that same day. I wonder what they are thinking, if they intend to climb the mountain with us, how far their faith goes. I observe the expression on the face of the priest, Don Santo, and I see in him amazement and at the same time joy.
Salvo has been speaking for 10 minutes now, but I think he has reached the end of his speech. After his story he calls people to testify their personal experience.
Three people go up on the altar: first Manuela Varrica, then Franco Pintagro and finally Antonella Nibali, all three visibly moved.
Manuela tells of having suffered a lot in recent months, due to an illness and the constant pains that her life had to endure, and which only faith and hope have allowed her to overcome. Manuela also tells the story of Franco, who is too moved to speak. He, seriously injured while he was at work, after being hospitalized in an emergency hospital and being declared 'dead' by medical reports, was saved, thanks to the prayers that his friends and family have addressed to the Archangel.
Finally Antonella says that, after having waited for eleven years for the birth of her eldest son, Filippo, wishing to have another child, in the silence of prayer she had turned to San Michele, whose effigy, the same then affixed on the mountain of Petralia , she had been left for one night in her home, asking the Archangel to get pregnant a second time. In fact, given the difficulties encountered previously and the long therapeutic process followed, she feared that she would not be able to get pregnant if not in an equally long period of time.
Antonella's prayers were actually answered, so much so that a few months later she discovered that she was pregnant.
The name that was chosen for this second son is precisely Michele, in recognition of the grace received.
After the stories of Salvo and these people, I see many people crying and being moved. I too can not hold back the tears, I who usually do not cry almost never.
The Mass ends with Don Santo's invitation to climb the mountain to place the painting. We all leave the cathedral and head towards the parking lot, to be able to move towards the mountain.
Outside, many people stop to talk to Salvo, trying to get some more explanation on the event, some details that can help them understand better.
We set off towards the same square where we had gathered upon our arrival, but this time the pace is slower, as many stop at the bar to drink.
We take the cars back and take a narrow and sunny road. The priest precedes us, probably already at the foot of the mountain.
The sun's rays fall sharply and the heat begins to become unbearable. Inside of me I begin to believe that many will not be able to reach the summit where the painting will be placed.
After a short drive we are forced to proceed on foot as the road is barren and it is not possible to proceed further with the cars.
We set off and Salvo takes the painting with him, proceeding slowly.
I see a crowd of people both behind me and in front of me. Maybe I was wrong to believe that only a few people would come. I see old people, sick people, young people, adults, children, even a newborn baby, Antonella's son, little Michele. Everyone proceeds slowly under the spring heat, which makes you tired and sluggish.
I begin to feel tired. But I am immediately convinced that I must not let go. I am a sportswoman, I must not give up. I start running convinced to shorten the distances sooner than expected. It amuses me to watch all those people who, driven by faith, do their utmost to place the picture.
Salvo picked up the pace. The priest has already arrived at the top and is waiting for him to be able to place the painting inside the specially built niche.
After about half an hour of walking briskly, while I stop to talk to some of Salvo's cousins, Salvo has reached the priest and I can already see him from a distance.
Not long after, I too reached the goal, along with all the others who had followed us. Evidently running was not a good idea, since I am very tired and I can hardly stand up.
It is about half past one and we are all gathered around the niche in which the painting has already been placed, in the juncture of time in which everyone was expected to arrive.
Some people, including Salvo's aunt Mary, faint, being rescued by two doctors present there.
Don Santo takes the floor and reads the dictation that St. Michael transmitted to Salvo, inviting the latter to read the prayer that the Archangel wants to be recited by the faithful who go on pilgrimage to him.
After the priest's blessing and the invitation to continue living as good Christians, all the faithful set out to return to their homes.
It is three o'clock in the afternoon and, once we reach the foot of the mountain, with some of our friends, we rest tired under the trees, sheltered from the scorching sun. It is the right time to have lunch and spend these last hours together before returning to our homes.
It was an emotional and moving day. I don't know how many people took part in the event, but certainly those who were there were driven by great faith.