Our Lady Of The Grotto
Country : Spain
Year : 1937
In a hillside cave or grotto in the Tre Fontaine district of Rome, there stands a statue of Our Lady which commemorates her victory over an ardent communist in 1947. His name is Bruno Cornachiola. Although baptized, Bruno knew little about the faith he was supposed to profess.
Seeking adventure after his marriage, he enlisted in Franco’s army in Spain in 1937, where he became a victim of the communist creed. Returning to Italy full of hatred toward the Church he attempted to destroy the Faith of his wife and children and propagated communism eagerly. On September 8, 1947 he decided to assassinate the Pope. He attacked Mary’s Immaculate Conception by preparing a speech against her. To find leisure for this, he took his children for an outing to Ostia to enjoy the seaside, while he worked over his talk. Missing the train to Ostia he took the children to Tre Fontaine instead, to a hillside grove near a Cistercian Abbey. While helping the children recover their lost ball, he was astonished to find his youngest child, Gianfranco on his knees before a cave grotto, hands joined as if in prayer, and exclaiming, “The beautiful Lady”. Angrily sneering, he turned to the two other children and said, “Aren’t you two going to kneel down?” Carlo replied, “Not I,” and instantly fell on his knees. Seeing his three children rigid in rapture gazing toward the grotto, Bruno thoroughly frightened, cried out, “God have mercy on me.” An indescribable sensation of light seemed to envelop him and gazing toward the cave, he beheld the object of the children’s vision, an apparition of the Lady whose Immaculate Conception he was preparing to denounce. (The lady was dark of hair with an olive complexion. She wore a white dress bound by a sash of pink; over it and her head was a mantle of green. In her hand she carried a book; on her bare feet he saw a black cloth and a crucifix broken in pieces.) He heard a voice say, “I am the Virgin of the Revelation”. Our Lady spoke to them more than an hour, stressing the need of prayer, especially of the Rosary for the conversion of sinners and unbelievers and for Christian unity, giving Bruno a secret message for the Pope. As a sign that she was from Heaven she told him to go through the streets and to say to the first priest he met, “Father, I wish to speak to you.” When one replies, “Hail Mary, my son, what do you want?”, say what words come to your lips; this priest will direct you to another who will help you make your abjuration.
Two weeks later what she had predicted was fulfilled in the Church of All Saints. The priest to whom he was directed gave him a course of instructions. Later Gianfranco was baptized and Isola received her First Holy Communion. Not long afterward Bruno was received in audience by Pope Pius XII to whom he confessed his murderous intention and conveyed the message given him by the Mother of God.
Ever since, Bruno’s life has been that of a model Christian governed by love of his fellowman. In the cave or grotto where mercy and grace came to him, stands a statue of Our Lady surrounded by tablets. To this shrine come pilgrims every day, where many miracles have come to people through the intercession of Mary Immaculate.
The Church, however, though giving its sanction to these devotional doings, has yet made no public pronouncement about the apparition.
The black cloth on Mary’s foot, with a crucifix broken into pieces, was a reminder to Bruno of the home crucifix he flung to the ground and broke into fragments on his return from Spain.