Priory and sanctuary of Our Lady of Basella,
1462 - 1784.
A brief description.
7-8 April 1356.
In the night of 7 and 8 April 1356, a sharp frost ravaged the
countryside of Basella,
near Urgnano, 15 km from Bergamo.
The apparition of 8 April 1356.
The next morning, the peasant girl Marina Cas(s)one, fifteen years, ran to her father’s field, and seeing the destruction of the buds, she broke into tears.
Just then a lady with a child appeared. The lady shook hands with her, saying that she had to return after nine days to the same place.
17 April 1356.
On April 17, Marina saw again the Lady with the Child. She told her to be the "Queen of Heaven", asking her to take a vow of perpetual virginity. She ordered her to tell her fellow villagers to dig on the place where her feet rested. There they may found an altar and the remains of an ancient church. At first Marina was not believed it, but later the villagers dug and found what the Lady had been announced.
The building of the church.
On 1 May 1356, Bishop Lanfranc laid the foundation stone of
which was finished in three months.
The statue of the Virgin with the Child and Marina was
made by Louis Carrara of Bergamo,
and placed in a niche between two windows of the choir.
The Dominicans in Basella from 1462 until 1784.
In 1460 Bartolomeo Colleoni (1390/1400 - 2 November 1485)
started the restoration and enlargement: to extend the Sanctuary of three naves,
incorporating the existing building (choir, chancel, two altars and a bell
tower), the facade was added a round window and decorative elements in brick.
The tower bell, started in 1494, was completed at the end of the nineteenth
He build also a priory, in which the Dominicans of the priory of Santo Stefano in Bergamo housed to care the sacred rites for the pilgrims since 1462. In 1784, the Venetian Republic suppressed the Dominicans to leave their priory.
One hundred years after, the parish priest of Urgnano takes the ownership of the church and the convent and began the restoration.
1920: the fathers Passionists.
In 1920, the convent and the church were entrusted to the
On 18 September 1921, Cardinal La Fontaine, patriarch of Venice celebrated the coronation of the statue of the Lady and the Christ Child.
In 1956, the 6th centenary of the apparition of the Virgin of Basella, was celebrated in the presence of Cardinal Angelo Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII (28 October 1958 - 3 June 1963), initiator of the Second Vatican Council (11 October 1962 – 8 December 1965).
Today, the church with its ancient frescoes is the centre of devotion and pilgrimage.
Sources: many sites of Internet, among others of Urgnano and
the church of Basella.
Gamba, M. Marian Apparitions. Ed. Segno.
The postmark shows the statue of the crowned Lady of Basella
with the crowned Christ Child, and the kneeling Marina Casone.
The text: 650th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady of Basella.
With thanks to José and Régina Bogaert – Van Wayenberge.
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