REOPENING OF THE ORATORY SAN FRANCESCO DI PAOLA

In September 2023, during the “36° Cod Festival”, the Municipal Administration of Sandrigo reopens the Oratory of San Francesco di Paola Patron Saint of Navigators, with the purpose to include it in the route of Via Querinissima in tribute to the courage of the sailors who, despite adverse circumstances, allowed the discovery of cod.
 
The History
 
The oratory was once part of the complex of Villa Sesso, known as the “Casa Grande,” the main residence of the family in Sandrigo, where Emperor Charles V of Spain was welcomed. In 1716, the wealthy Count Frignano Sesso requested permission from the bishop to build an oratory on the public road.
 
The Oratory
 
Oratories are places of prayer for the private worship of families and the community.
 
The exterior of the small building is very simple; the most unusual elements are the broken pediment over the entrance door, the windows with chamfered corners, and the small bell gable.
 
Inside, there’s a wonderful rococo altar made of white Berici stone, with two side Corinthian columns supported by an exuberant voluted altar table, and an altar front rich in fruits. Above, there’s a dentilated broken pediment with two angels, and in the center, a cloud of cherubs with the golden inscription “CHARITAS,” the motto of San Francesco di Paola. The festive stone frame encloses a canvas with a relaxed and confident composition: at the top are the Madonna and Child and Saint Joseph, and lower down, Saint Francis with one hand on his heart and the other open towards the faithful.
 
The Saint
 
Francesco was born in Paola (Cosenza) in 1416 to elderly parents. According to tradition, an angel appeared to him while he prayed, placing in his hands a luminous shield bearing the word “Charitas.” The hermit founded the Order of Minims in Calabria, instructing his disciples to live on alms and not to own anything. He immediately won the hearts of the people: his love for God and his neighbor led him to make no class distinctions, to pursue justice, and to help the poor against the abuses of the powerful. The reputation of the wonder-working monk, patron of Calabria, sailors, and fishermen (because he crossed the Strait of Messina on his cloak), with his large build, beard, long hair, staff, and cloak, spread to France where he died near Tours in 1507. Remembered on April 2, he is invoked against fires, infertility, and epidemics.
 
(Source: Dr. Francesca Rizzo).
 
Via Querinissima
 
In 1957, Pius XII proclaimed Saint Francis of Paola the “Heavenly Patron of Italian Seafarers”, confessor and special Heavenly Patron before God of associations responsible for the care of seafarers, shipping companies, and all sailors of the Italian Nation.
 
In 2023, the Municipal Administration of Sandrigo reopens the Oratory of San Francesco di Paola with the purpose to include it in the route of Via Querinissima in tribute to the courage of the sailors who, despite adverse circumstances, allowed the discovery of cod.
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