The church is also named Our Lady of the Lightening after a violent storm hit Marsala in the winter of 1691. The scared population sought shelter at Porta di Mare (Sea Gate), presently Porta Garibaldi and beseeched the Virgin. It is told that on that occasion a lightening struck the horse of a young man who had stopped there to pray. People hailed it as a miracle since the young man was spared.
On July 14th, 1691, as a sign of gratitude, the Marsala people , with gathered offerings, built a church on the miracle site where previously an old small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Conception stood.
The church which overlooks Piazza dell’Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows Square) hosts one of the most significant and evocative images of Mary, our Lady of Sorrows. Her hands and feet were chiselled out of cypress wood by a non-commisioned officer at the Spaniards’service between 1786 and 1790. The painting of the statue and her dresses in papier maché were completed by Priest Donato.
Under the altar where the Madonna stands, there lies the dead Christ by artist Carmelo Bruno (1934).
Both statues are carried in procession on Good Friday, and they come out of the church only on that occasion.
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