Nearly 400-Year-Old Sicilian Religious Festival Returns To Golf Mill Park

Sep 10, 2022 430

BY: Tom Robb

A newly renovated Golf Mill Park in Niles was home to the return of the 122nd annual Feast of Maria SS Lauretana of Altavilla Milicia festival over Labor Day weekend with thousands in attendance. The event celebrates what the faithful see as a miracle that took place off the coast of Sicily in the year 1623. The legend says a ship with a heathen pirate crew was caught in heavy storms off the coast of Sicily.

The crew on board found the lid of a barrel containing the image of the Virgin Mary and blamed that image for their troubles. The lid was thrown overboard and washed up on the Sicilian coast between two towns. The barrel lid was placed in an ox cart. Wherever the ox stopped, a shrine to the Virgin Mary was built on that spot, in the town of Altavilla Milicia, Sicily.

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