Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei Italy - legacy of Bartolo Longo
Bartolo did not only build a Shrine Our Lady of Pompei, he instituted a human Shrine to Her - a human Shrine of Hope.
The memory of the helpless souls he and his wife encountered in Pompeii, with neither manna to eat nor the Bread of Life to sustain them, moved Bartolo and his wife to spend a lifetime creating a place, a world, for orphans and children.
Pope Leo XIII, hearing of the miracle of the New Pompeii, as early as 1883, issued his first encyclical on the Rosary.
As an act of gratitude for all he was doing, His Holiness granted Bartolo a private audience in 1884.
In 1890, Cardinal La Valletta was appointed Protector of the Sanctuary, and in 1894, Bartolo Longo placed the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei and all it encompassed in the hands of the Pope.
Pope Leo XIII accepted it and removing it from under the authority of the Diocese of Nola, declared it, as part of the Papal Estates, immediately under the Vatican’s control and protection.
In 1900, the first enshrinement of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Pompei was signed.
As it was also the Holy Year, His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, extolling the great merits of the Shrine, directed the pilgrims: “Go to Pompei; go and pray for the Pope in the Sanctuary of the Pope!”
Six years later, in 1906, Bartolo made the final sacrifice, turning over to the Holy See complete direction and supervision of all he had begun in New Pompeii.
But, always obedient, he obeyed His Holiness’ mandate: “you must not die, you must work.”
And so, although wounded, he stayed on, aiding the new administrator and representative from the Vatican.
Like St. Francis before him, he grieved over his dream being in the hands of others. Unable any longer to be a part of it, his cross was his helplessness to reach out to the ones he loved.
As we have said before, the Saints’ lives make great reading, but painful living. Unheralded, a shadow of suspicion towering over his head, he remained at the Shrine, until his death in 1926.
However, the legacy he left us is this magnificent Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei in honor of the Rosary. He paid the price, but his life’s dream was fulfilled in the endless procession of pilgrims petitioning Our Lady of Pompei.