The sanctuaries of the valley

Small but significant sanctuaries of the Valley

The signs of devotion on the territory pass through the many churches that dot the Stura Valley; among all, shrines are places of particular spirituality, often reached by foot or through winding paths, where the faithful have left prayers, memories and votive offerings. Many of these buildings have been restored or adapted in recent times, but arise in sites of ancient attendance.

In addition to the famous Sanctuary of Sant’Anna, in the valley there are other sanctuaries: the Sanctuary of Monserrato in Borgo San Dalmazzo, the Sanctuary of San Mauro in Rittana and the Sanctuary of Madonna delle Grazie in the municipality of Roccasparvera.

The Sanctuary of Monserrato

The Sanctuary was built in the early seventeenth century on the hill behind the village of Borgo S. Dalmazzo to request protection from the Virgin, in the period of the great plague. The place had been a destination for pilgrimages since the Middle Ages, so the chapel was referred to as Santa Croce. But there was also the title of Monserrato, linked to the cult of the Black Madonna of Monserrat in Catalonia. The building also had accommodation for the “romito”, the hermit who lived here. On the main altar was placed a fifteenth-century statue of the Madonna and Child, now preserved in the parish museum, and later replaced by an icon of Angelo Iacobi said Shepherd.

In 1799 the French revolutionary troops plundered and devastated it, two years later it was restored and consecrated again.

At the end of World War II, the surviving local partisans decided that each year, on September 7, they would carry the statue of the Virgin from the sanctuary to the parish and then bring it back to the sanctuary the next day, thus modifying the ancient procession.

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The sanctuary of San Mauro

The current sanctuary and parish church in the municipality of Rittana, dedicated to Saints John the Baptist and Mauro, was rebuilt in 1726 on an ancient chapel dedicated to Saint Mauro, already indicated in the bull of Alexander III as a dependency of the abbey of Saint Teofredo of Velaj. It was consecrated in 1770 and in 1782 it was provided with a high portico under which novenas were recited, turning in prayer around the church, even in days of inclement weather.

The church was once a destination for pilgrimages from all over Cuneo: from Borgo San Dalmazzo children were brought hyperactive or agitated in the belief that the saint could calm them.

The interior, with a single nave, preserves the relics of the Baptist, Saint Mauro and Saint Magno. The sacristy houses the canvas of the Madonna del Carmine between San Giovanni and San Giuseppe, and a canvas with the rare subject of the Shroud.

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Madonna delle Grazie sanctuary

The Chapel of Our Lady of Grace, located in Roccasparvera, was founded as a Marian shrine in 1707. In 1877 the large walkway porch, called novena, was added, because under it the faithful walked reciting novenas, rosaries and litanies. Above the entrance portal is frescoed the Virgin and Child, while inside are scenes of the life of Mary and the childhood of Jesus.

The most precious sacred furniture is the statue that depicts the Madonna delle Grazie holding the baby Jesus, an 18th century Piedmontese work. Located near the Porta Bolleris, it is still frequented by the inhabitants of the village, where they celebrate the feast on September 8.

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The chapel of Saint Membotto

The Chapel of San Membotto is located in the town of Moiola, in the area known locally as San Benedét, near the bridge of the same name. The chapel was mentioned for the first time in the decree of the Bishop of Asti of 28 July 1098 and then in the bull of Pope Alexander III of 7 December 1179 among the possessions of the Abbey of S. Teofredo of Velaj as a dependency of the Priory of Bersezio.

The church was the religious heart of the ancient village of S. Benedetto and was mentioned in the Turin Registrum of 1386. At the end of the XIV-th century, changed the political conditions and the numerous floods of the Stura, it is assumed that the present chapel was built with a simple hall with a semicircular apse. It was also entitled to Saint Membotto, a Swiss nobleman who became a Benedictine monk and currently venerated in the town of Alberschwende, where he was martyred on 23 March 1120.

In the twentieth century the front porch was added  and the bell tower rebuilt ; the statue of the saint, stolen in the first half of the last century, was replaced by a new sculpture preserved in the parish, which is brought here in procession for the patron feast on September 11.

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