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A bit more on the patron saint of cyclists . . .(3 posts)

A bit more on the patron saint of cyclists . . .LAIrish
Sep 30, 2001 12:44 PM
I was really interested in the thread below regarding the patron saint of bicyclists. I'm a newbie and occasionally feel that the only way I'm going to finish longer rides is with divine intervention. I've been praying to St. Jude (the patron saint of lost causes), so it was kinda neat to find out that the Madonna del Ghisallo is the patron saint of cyclists. If anyone is interested in more info, I found the following on a website labelled "Ask Father Murray Watson." ( http://www.rcec.london.on.ca/MWatsonArchive4.htm )

According to a medieval legend, the story begins with a certain Count Ghisallo who was travelling in the area when he was attacked and beaten by a group of highway bandits, who apparently were a common menace at that time. In rural areas, it was customary to build small religious shrines along country roads, and Ghisallo caught sight of an image of the Virgin Mary nearby. He fled to the shrine and prayed for the Virgin's protection, and was miraculously saved from his pursuers. As the story spread, the "Madonna of Ghisallo" came to be venerated as patroness of local travellers. For your information, I am attaching a graphic file with the image of the Madonna of Ghisallo which is venerated at the shrine (which dates from 1623).
Cycling has been a popular pastime in this area for a long time, and cyclists would often stop to rest and pray at the chapel, which is a local landmark. In the years after World War II, the pastor, Father Ermelindo Vigano, proposed Ghisallo as the site of an Italian shrine for bicyclists. After receiving requests from several national sporting associations, Pope Pius XII issued a formal decree on October 13, 1949 naming the Madonna of Ghisallo as "Principal Patroness of Italian Cyclists". In 1948, the same Pope had blessed and lit a perpetual flame which burns at the shrine, in memory of cyclists who have died, and as a sign of the faith of cyclists today. In the chapel and the Museum of Cycling beside it, you will find various bicycles and jerseys donated by various Italian and world championship riders, as well as historical artifacts, statues and monuments to various cycling personalities. There is also a large Monument to Cyclists alongside the shrine, which was blessed by Pope Paul VI in 1973. Because of this, the sanctuary has become the centre for various pilgrimages, sporting events and rallies which gather cyclists from all over the world, including National Cycling Day, the International Ghisallo Race (October), and a commemoration of deceased cyclists on the Feast of All Souls (November 2).
Way cool...Bless You My Son...(nm)Greg Taylor
Sep 30, 2001 4:46 PM
and...Jack S
Oct 1, 2001 6:07 AM
they are currently building the Coppi cycling museum on the site, to house all the other tons of artifacts that the small santuary cannot hold. This was a big controversy, as it is being built on a beautiful overlook of Lake Como.

It is on usually on the first half of route of the last classic of the year, the Tour of Lomabardy, during which the newly crowned world champion shows off his rainbow jersey.