Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Beatification, Psalms 119:41-48, Luke 11:37-41, St. Gerard Majella, Muro Lucano Potenza Basilicata Italy

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Beatification, Psalms 119:41-48, Luke 11:37-41, St. Gerard Majella, Muro Lucano Potenza Basilicata Italy

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!
Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our Spirit...it's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  beatification  be·at·i·fi·ca·tion [bee-at-uh-fi-key-shuhn]

Origin: 1495–1505;  < Late Latin beātificātiōn-  (stem of beātificātiō ), equivalent to beātificāt ( us ) (past participle of beātificāre  to beatify) + -iōn- -ion; see -ate1

1. the act of beatifyingto make blissfully happy.
2. the state of being beatified.
3. Roman Catholic Church . the official act of the pope whereby a deceased person is declared to be enjoying the happiness of heaven, and therefore a proper subject of religious honor and public cult in certain places.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 119:41-48

41 Let your faithful love come to me, Yahweh, true to your promise, save me!
43 Do not deprive me of that faithful word, since my hope lies in your judgements.
44 I shall keep your Law without fail for ever and ever.
45 I shall live in all freedom because I have sought your precepts.
47 Your commandments fill me with delight, I love them dearly.
48 I stretch out my hands to your commandments that I love, and I ponder your judgements.


Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 11:37-41

Jesus had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. He went in and sat down at table. The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal. But the Lord said to him, 'You Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too? Instead, give alms from what you have and, look, everything will be clean for you.

• In today’s Gospel there is the continuation of the tense relationship between Jesus and the religious authority of his time. But in spite of the tension there was a certain familiarity between Jesus and the Pharisees. Invited to eat at their house, Jesus accepts the invitation. He does not lose his freedom before them; neither do the Pharisees before him.

• Luke 11, 37-38: The admiration of the Pharisees before the liberty of Jesus. “At that time after Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. He went in and sat down at table. The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal”. Jesus accepts the invitation to eat at the house of the Pharisee, but he does not change his way of acting, sitting at table without washing his hands. Neither does the Pharisee change his attitude before Jesus, because he expresses his admiration for the fact that Jesus did not wash his hands. At that time, to wash the hands before eating was a religious obligation, imposed upon people in the name of purity, ordered by the law of God. The Pharisee was surprised by the fact that Jesus does not observe this religious norm. But in spite of their total difference, the Pharisee and Jesus have something in common: for them life is serious. The way of doing of the Pharisee was the following: every day, they dedicated eight hours to study and to the meditation of the law of God, another eight hours to work in order to be able to survive with the family and the other eight hours to rest. This serious witness of their life gives them a great popular leadership. Perhaps because of this, in spite of the fact of being totally diverse, both, Jesus and the Pharisees, understood and criticized one another, without losing the possibility to dialogue.

• Luke 11, 39-41: The response of Jesus. “You Pharisees you clean the outside of the cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too? Instead, give alms from what you have and, look, everything will be clean for you”. The Pharisees observed the law literally. They only looked at the letter and because of this they were incapable to perceive the spirit of the law, the objective that the observance of the law wanted to attain in the life of the persons. For example, in the law it was written: “Love the neighbour as yourself” (Lv 19,18). And they commented: “We should love the neighbour, yes, but only the neighbour, not the others!” And from there arose the discussion around the question: “Who is my neighbour?” (Lk 10, 29) Paul the Apostle writes in his second Letter to the Corinthians: “The letter kills, the spirit gives life” (2 Co 3, 6). In the Sermon on the Mountain, Jesus criticizes those who observe the letter of the law put transgress the spirit (Mt 5, 20). In order to be faithful to what God asks us it is not sufficient to observe the letter of the law. It would be the same thing as to clean the cup on the outside and to leave the inside all dirty: robbery and injustice so on. It is not sufficient not to kill, not to rob, not to commit adultery, not to swear. Only observe fully the law of God, of he who, beyond the letter, goes to the roots and pulls out from within the desires of “robbery and injustice” which can lead to murder, robbery, adultery, It is in the practice of love that the fullness of the law is attained (cf. Mt 5, 21-48).

Personal questions
• Does our Church today merit the accusation which Jesus addressed against the Scribes and the Pharisees? Do I deserve it?
• To respect the seriousness of life of others who think in a different way from us, can facilitate today dialogue which is so necessary and difficult. How do I practice dialogue in the family, in work and in the community?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites, www.ocarm.org.


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St. Gerard Majella

Feast Day:  October 16
Patron Saint: children (and unborn children in particular); childbirth; mothers (and expectant mothers in particular); motherhood; falsely accused people; good confessions; lay brothers; and Muro Lucano, Italy

Saint Gerard Majella
Saint Gerard Majella (April 6, 1726 – October 16, 1755) is a Roman Catholic saint. He is the saint whose intercession is requested for children (and unborn children in particular), childbirth, mothers (and expectant mothers in particular), motherhood, falsely accused people, good confessions, lay brothers and Muro Lucano, Italy.

Born in Muro, about fifty miles south of Naples, in April, 1726; died 16 October, 1755; beatified by Leo XIII, 29 January, 1893, and canonized by Pius X, 11 December, 1904. His only ambition was to be like Jesus Christ in his sufferings and humiliations. His father, Dominic Majella, died while Gerard was a child. His pious mother, owing to poverty, was obliged to apprentice him to a tailor. His master loved him, but the foreman treated him cruelly. His reverence for the priesthood and his love of suffering led him to take service in the house of a prelate, who was very hard to please. On the latter's death Gerard returned to his trade, working first as a journeyman and then on his own account. His earnings he divided between his mother and the poor, and in offerings for the souls in purgatory. After futile attempts first to become a Franciscan and then a hermit, he entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1749. Two years later he made his profession, and to the usual vows he added one by which he bound himself to do always that which seemed to him more perfect. St. Alphonsus considered him a miracle of obedience. He not only obeyed the orders of superiors when present, but also when absent knew and obeyed their desires. Although weak in body, he did the work of three, and his great charity earned for him the title of Father of the Poor. He was a model of every virtue, and so drawn to Our Lord in the tabernacle that he had to do violence to himself to keep away. An angel in purity, he was accused of a shameful crime; but he bore the calumny with such patience that St. Alphonsus said: "Brother Gerard is a saint". He was favoured with infused knowledge of the highest order, ecstatsies, prophecy, discernment of spirits, and penetration of hearts, bilocation, and with what seemed an unlimited power over nature, sickness, and the devils. When he accompanied the Fathers on missions, or was sent out on business, he converted more souls than many missionaries. He predicted the day and hour of his death. A wonderworker during his life, he has continued to be the same since his death.

Early Years

Majella was born in Muro Lucano, Basilicata. He was the son of a tailor who died when Gerard was twelve, leaving the family in poverty. His mother then sent him to her brother so that he could teach Gerard how to sew and help the business. During this time, he was abused by a man whom his uncle sent to help him. He kept silent, but soon his uncle found out and the man who taught him resigned from the job. He loved to be like Jesus Crucified and tried at all costs to suffer. He tried to join the Capuchin order, but his health prevented it. He joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1749. When falsely accused by a pregnant woman of being the father of her child, he retreated to silence. She later recanted and cleared him, and thus began his association as patron of all aspects of pregnancy. He was reputed to have bilocation and read consciences. His last will consisted of a small note on the door of his cell saying, "Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills." He died on October 16, 1755 in Caposele, Campania, of tuberculosis, aged 29.

Miracles of Last Year and Death

The last brief year of Gerard’s life was spent a Caposele, with a few short sojourns to Naples where he assisted the Procurator General of the Order. He also began a tour of the Archdiocese of Conza at the request of the Archbishop, but illness brought him back to Materdomini – to die.

Caposele and Naples won the favor of his wonders, as did Iliceto a year before. At Naples, great scholars came to him seeking advice. People begged his blessing in the streets. One morning, the Duchess of Maddaloni approached him as he entered the Cathedral, begging him to cure her little daughter who was ill. Gerard pointed to the altar, saying it was not he but God who wrought such miracles. But the mother persisted until Gerard promised to pray for her little one. An hour later, a liveried footman came to fetch the Duchess, bringing news that the little girl had suddenly recovered.

One day when Gerard was in Naples, one of those summer storms blew up, bringing lowering clouds and a chill wind from the Appenines. At once the fishing fleet hauled in traps and sail and made for shore. They well knew the damage a squall wrought. Off the rocks of Pietra del pesce the sea was leaping in huge bursts of spray, tossing a hapless boat like a stick. Fearing shipwreck, the panicky rowers signaled shore, but not a soul would dare put out to their rescue.

At the moment, Brother Gerard happened along and saw the little fishing smack pitching helplessly among the whitecaps. Walking down to the shore, he made the sign of the cross, threw his cloak back over his shoulder and without more ado, began to walk across the churning breakers till he came alongside the boat. Then while the crowds on shore shielded their eyes to watch, he grasped the prow and pulled the boatload of fishermen in the harbor. “Santo! Santo!” screamed the people. They mobbed around him . . . so that he had to dart away and hide in a shop, as though hunted by the police. By evening, all Naples was talking of Brother Gerard.

The crops had been meager that fall, and by winter famine stalked the hills round Caposele. Gerard had been appointed porter there in November and was delighted: he had thus to care for the poor. Every morning, several hundred peasants came to the monastery for clothing and warm food. No matter how many came, there was always plenty. Food seemed to double and triple in his hands.

However, to the brother who baked the bread, this lavish charity of Gerard seemed imprudent. He had filled the pantry with fresh loaves that very morning . . . and there was not a loaf left. Hearing of this, the Rector reprimanded Gerard. There was nothing left for the community! Nothing for dinner! Gerard looked so dumbfounded that Rector and baker went down to the pantry to show him his folly. The baker threw open the cupboard, and . . . it was loaded with fresh baked bread.

When spring came in 1755, Gerard was extremely frail. Several times he had to take to his bed. But he recovered and accompanied a group of missionaries to Calitri, where his presence brought many back to the practice of the Faith. The mission was an outstanding success. That summer he made his last trip on business for the monastery, visiting a dozen towns and in many working wonders.

At the town of Senarchia, they were repairing the church roof. Workmen had felled great trees in the nearby woods. They were so heavy that a whole gang could not pull a single tree over the rough terrain to the church. Gerard heard of the problem and promised to help. The workmen followed him into the woods where he tied a stout rope to the largest log. “I command you to follow me.” He then pulled the huge trunk as though it were a child’s sled. The workmen, at his bidding did likewise, and the logs slid along at the slightest tug.

In the same town, a young mother was in danger of death after an extremely difficult birth. Gerard assured her friends that he would pray for her. Later, he told them the woman would recover. Both mother and child survived as he had predicted.

Auletta, Vietri da Potenza, San Gregorio, Buccino . . . Gerard visited town after town. At Buccino, he fell ill and the doctor advised that he go to Oliveto where the climate would be better for his lungs. Here he wrote to his Rector at Caposele, “Tell me what to do, I beg your Reverence. If you wish me home, I shall come at once. If you wish me to continue the tour, send me an emphatic obedience, and all will be well . . .” His superior wrote him to wait at Oliveto until he had strength enough to come home.
 But Gerard’s strength was waning. He must set out for Caposele to spend his last days at Materdomini. On the way, he paid a brief visit to the Pirofalo family, telling them to watch for a white flag flying from the house at Materdomini. As long as they saw the flag, he would be alive. As a matter of fact, even on a clear day it was all but impossible to see that distance. But the family could see the monastery plainly, and the white flag flew all the days of September, and for half the following month.

Gerard had already left the house, when one of the Pirofalo girls called after him, telling him he had left his handkerchief. “Keep it,” he told her. “You may need it someday.” Long years after, when married and all but dying in childbirth, she remembered the words of Brother Gerard. She asked that the handkerchief be applied to her. Almost at once, her pain abated and she gave birth to her child.

The Rector of Materdomini was heartbroken that last day of August when Brother Gerard came back. He was so worn and emaciated! “Cheer up, Father. It is God’s Will,” said Gerard with a smile. “We must do His Will with gladness.” He scarcely stopped speaking of union with the Will of God. When Doctor Santorelli, the house physician, asked him if he wished to get well or to die, Gerard looked up from bed and answered simply, “I wish only what God wants.” His one last request was that a small white placard be tacked to his door with the inscription:
Here the Will of God is done,  as God wills, and as long as God wills.

On September fifth, the acting Rector gave Gerard an obedience to get well. The Will of God! At once all trace of his malady vanished. He got out of bed, ate with the community, walked in the garden, and was present at all the religious exercises. For a full month, he was well again. Then on October fourth, he said to the doctor, “I should have died a month ago, but for obedience. Now my time is near. Tomorrow, I go to bed.” And so it was. For the next ten days, he grew steadily worse. The afternoon of October fifteenth, he tried to sit up, crying to his confreres, “Look! Look! It is the Madonna!” and fell into a sudden ecstasy of love. That evening at seven-thirty, he died. He was twenty-nine years, six months, and nine days old. For six years, he had been in religious life.

To recount the happening after his death in 1755 would demand a large book. Because of the numerous miracles performed through the saint’s intercession, proceedings for his canonization were instituted shortly after his death. In 1893, he was beatified. Eleven years later on December the eleventh, 1904, Pope Pius X proclaimed his solemn canonization at St. Peter’s in eternal Rome. Brother Gerard of Muro and Materdomini was now Saint Gerard of heaven and the whole world.


Gerard Majella was beatified in Rome on January 29, 1893, by Pope Leo XIII. He was canonised less than twelve years later on December 11, 1904, by Pope Saint Pius X. St Gerard's Church in Wellington, New Zealand, built in 1908, was the first church to be dedicated to Gerard Majella. The feast day of Saint Gerard Majella is October 16. He was featured on an Italian 45-euro postage stamp in May 2005. The St. Gerard Majella Annual Novena takes place every year in St. Josephs Church, Dundalk, Ireland. This annual nine-day novena is the biggest festival of faith in Ireland.

In 1977, St. Gerard's chapel in St. Lucy's Church (Newark, New Jersey) was dedicated as a national shrine. Each year during the Feast days which include October 16, there are the traditional lights, music, food stands and the street procession, it is apparent that this Feast is a spiritual exercise with all of the essential activity centered around the ‘Saint’ and the Chapel. Devotees visit the Shrine also throughout the year to pray to and petition the help of this Miraculous Wonder Worker.

The League of St Gerard (Redemptorists, Clapham, London) provides spiritual support and prayers for all expectant mothers and families. Two towns in Quebec, Canada, are named in his honour: one in the Montérégie region and another in the Lanaudière region.


Some quotations attributed to Gerard Majella include:
  • "The Most Blessed Sacrament is Christ made invisible. The poor sick person is Christ again made visible."
  • "I see in my neighbor the Person of Jesus Christ."
  • "Consider the shortness of time, the length of eternity and reflect how everything here below comes to an end and passes by. Of what use is it to lean upon that which cannot give support?"
  • "Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?"

The Redemptorists Annual Nine Day Novena

St. Joseph's Parish Church,a redemptorist House in Dundalk, welcomes thousands of people from all over Ireland to the Annual Festival of Faith in Honour of St. Gerard Majella. After Bro. Gerard's Beatification in 1893, a triuum in his honour was preached in St. Joseph's by Fr. Hall, widely regarded as one of the greatest preachers of his day. The people of Dundalk took St. Gerard into their hearts after this sermon and continued to pay devotion to him on a regular basis. However during the 1930s, Fr. John Murray, started what has become the biggest festival of faith in Ireland, the Annual Nine Day Novena to St. Gerard Majella, beginning on 8 October and finishing on his feast day, 16 October. Fr. Hugo Kerr erected a shrine to St. Gerard in the church in 1939. Today the Novena continues to grow with over 10,000 people attending the Novena on a daily basis.

The Novena consists of 10 sessions a day, with the first session starting at 7am, running all day until the last session at 10pm, when the mass is conducted by candlelight. Prayers and Petitions are offered up daily by members of the public and are read out during each session. Due to the increasing numbers attending the Novena each year extra seating is added to the hallways, monastery rooms, side altars and the parish hall, where each session is shown live on large television screens.

One memorable event of the Novena from years past was the trumpet players that performed at each of the sessions on the last day of the Novena. The last days of the Novena also see an increase in attendance as those who are unable to make it throughout the Novena usually attend the last three days.

Highlights of the Novena

  • Communal Celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (usually on the 5th Day)
  • Healing Mass with the Anointing of the Sick and the Elderly (held on the Saturday)
  • The Blessing of Babies (2.30pm service held on the Sunday)
  • The Novena of All Nations (4.30pm on the Sunday)
  • Taize Mass - Candlelight Session. Nightly at 10.30pm
  • Guest Speaker - lay people sharing their experience of life situations.

Prayer to St. Gerard Majella

Almighty and Eternal God, we thank you for the gift of St. Gerard and the example of his life. Because St. Gerard always had complete faith and trust in you, you blessed him with great powers of help and healing. Through him, you showed your loving concern for all those who suffered or were in need. You never failed to hear his prayer on their behalf. Today, through St. Gerard’s powerful intercession, you continue to show your love for all those who place their trust in you. And so, Father, full of faith and confidence, and in thanksgiving for all the wonderful things you have done for us, we place ourselves before you today. Through the intercession of St. Gerard, hear our petitions, and if it is your holy will, grant them. Amen.

Nine Day Novena

Novena to Saint Gerard
Strive each day to practice in the virtue indicated in the petition.

1st Day

Saint Gerard, ever full of faith obtain for me that , believing firmly all that the Church of God proposes to my belief, I may strive to secure through a holy life the joys of eternal happiness.
Then say Nine Hail Marys, with the following Versicle and Prayer.
V. Pray for us, O Saint Gerard.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us Pray
O Almighty and everlasting God, who didst draw to thyself Saint Gerard, even from his tenderest years, making him conformable to the Image of Thy Crucified Son, grant we beseech Thee, that imitating his example, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2nd Day

Saint Gerard, most generous saint, who from thy tenderest years didst care so little for the goods of earth, grant that I may place all my confidence in Jesus Christ alone, my true Treasure, who alone can make me happy in time and in eternity.
Then say Nine Hail Marys, with the following Versicle and Prayer.
V. Pray for us, O Saint Gerard.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

3rd Day

Saint Gerard, bright seraph of love, who despising all earthly love, didst consecrate thy life to the service of God and thy neighbor, promoting God’s glory in thy lowly state, and ever ready to assist the distressed and console the sorrowful, ob5tain for me, I beseech thee, that loving God the only God and my neighbor for His sake, I may be hereafter united to Him for ever in glory.
Then say Nine Hail Marys, with the following Versicle and Prayer.
V. Pray for us, O Saint Gerard.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

4th Day

Saint Gerard, spotless lily of purity, by the angelic virtue and thy wonderful innocence of life thou didst receive from the Infant Jesus and His Immaculate Mother, sweet pledges of tenderest love, grant, I beseech thee, that I may ever strive in my life-long fight, and thus win the crown that awaits the brave and the true.
Then say Nine Hail Marys, with the following Versicle and Prayer.
V. Pray for us, O Saint Gerard.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

5th Day

Saint Gerard, model of holy obedience, who through thy life didst heroically submit the judgment to those who represent Jesus Christ to thee, thus sanctifying thy lowliest actions, obtain for me from God cheerful admission to His Holy Will and the virtue of perfect obedience, that I may be made comfortable to Jesus, my Model, who was obedient even to death.
Then say Nine Hail Marys, with the following Versicle and Prayer.
V. Pray for us, O Saint Gerard.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

6th Day

Saint Gerard, most perfect imitator of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, do thou whose greatest glory was to be humble and lowly, obtain that I too, knowing my littleness in God’s sight, may be found worthy to enter the kingdom that is promised to the humble and lowly of heart.
Then say Nine Hail Marys, with the following Versicle and Prayer.
V. Pray for us, O Saint Gerard.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

7th Day

Saint Gerard, unconquered hero, most patient in suffering, do thou who didst glory in infirmity, and under slander and most cruel ignominy didst rejoice to suffer with Christ, obtain for me patience and resignation in my sorrows, that I may bravely bear the cross that is to gain for me the crown of everlasting glory.
Then say Nine Hail Marys, with the following Versicle and Prayer.
V. Pray for us, O Saint Gerard.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

8th Day

Saint Gerard, true lover of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, do thou who didst kneel long hours before the Tabernacle, and there didst taste the joys of the Paradise. Obtain for me, I beseech thee, the spirit of prayer and an undying love for the Most Holy Sacrament, that thus receiving frequently the Body and Blood of Jesus, I may daily grow in His holy love and merit the priceless grace of loving Him even to the end.
Then say Nine Hail Marys, with the following Versicle and Prayer.
V. Pray for us, O Saint Gerard.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

9th Day

Saint Gerard, most favorite child of heaven, to whom Mary gave the Infant Jesus in the day of thy childhood, to whom she sweetly came before thou didst close thine eyes In death, obtain for me I beseech thee, so to seek and love my Blessed Mother during life, that she may be my joy and consolation in this valley of tears, until with thee, before the throne of God, I may praise her goodness for all eternity. Amen.
Then say Nine Hail Marys, with the following Versicle and Prayer.
V. Pray for us, O Saint Gerard.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


  1. a b Patron Saints Index: St. Gerard Majella
  2. ^ a b J. Magnier (1913). "St. Gerard Majella". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06467c.htm.
  3. ^ "St Gerard's Church". Register of Historic Places. New Zealand Historic Places Trust. http://www.historic.org.nz/TheRegister/RegisterSearch/RegisterResults.aspx?RID=226&m=advanced. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  4. ^ St. Lucy's Church, Newark, NJ.
  • St Gerard.com.  http://www.saintgerard.com 
  • Magnier, John. "St. Gerard Majella." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 16 Oct. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06467c.htm>.


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today Snippet: Muro Lucano, Italy

Town of Muro Lucano, Itlay
Muro Lucano is a town and comune in the province of Potenza, in the region of Basilicata, southern Italy. The town of Muro Lucano is composed of the old town and the surrounding quarters of Cappuccini to the north, and Giardini (meaning gardens) to the south. It is 51 kilometres from Potenza, the chief town of the province. Muro Lucano rises 650 metres above sea level, occupies a surface area of 125.7 square kilometres and in 2005 had a population of approximately 6,000. The population, which was over 10,000 in the 1950s, has been shrinking steadily through the years due to social changes, lack of local work and heavy emigration. There are about 2,200 families with an average of close to 2.7 people per family. The territory of the municipality lies between 300 and 1450 metres above sea level. The town lies on a slope over the Muro ravine, with picturesque houses built on terraces. The name of the town comes from the medieval wall (in Italian muro) that surrounded the medieval centre.


The town of Muro Lucano is situated on the site of the ancient Numistri, at the foot of the Apennines, the scene of a battle between Hannibal and Marcellus in the second Punic war. The town has a cathedral; and it was in its castle that Queen Joan of Naples was murdered on the orders of her adopted son Charles III of Naples.The town's dialect is called Murese. This dialect is exclusive to the town and is often unintelligible to Italian speakers. It is believed to have originated from the Oscan language.

Notable Muro Lucanians

  • Anne Bancroft - actress
  • Salvatore Capezio - shoemaker, founder of Capezio
  • Joan I of Naples - queen
  • Gerard Majella - catholic saint
  • Joseph Stella - painter

Province and City of Potenza

City and Provence of Potenza
In 272 B.C. the province of Potenza was conquered by the Greek army. The new rulers renamed Basilicata as Lucania. Later in the 11th century, the area became part of the Duchy of Apulia, which was at the time ruled by the Norman French and from the 13th century part of the Kingdom of Naples. However, in reality Potenza was ruled by local warlords. In 1861 the province was unified with the rest of Italy in the newly formed Kingdom of Italy. The region has suffered from innumerable earthquakes and is still a seismically active area. The town of Potenza, the highest provincial capital above sea level in Italy, is built between two valleys. The town was mostly rebuilt after the 1857 Basilicata earthquake. Thus the earthquakes and the severe damage caused during World War II have deprived the town of many of its historical buildings. Consequently the overall impression of the town is one of modern concrete buildings. One beautiful church that survives is the church of San Francesco just off the main piazza, the "Piazza Pagano." Among the church's treasures is the Byzantine icon of the Madonna del Terremoto. One other place of interest in the town is the "Museo Archeologico Provinciale," which contains many artefacts from the times of the Romans in Basilicata.

Ancient times

The first settlement of Potentia was probably located at a lower elevation than at present, some 10 km south of today's Potenza. The Lucani of Potenza sided against Rome's enemies during the latter's wars against the Samnites and the Bruttii. Subjugated during the 4th century BC (later gaining the status of municipium), the Potentini rebelled after the Roman defeat at Cannae in 216 BC. However, the Battle of the Metaurus marked the end of any Carthaginian aspirations in Italy, and Potentia was reconquered by the Romans and reduced to the status of military colony.

Middle Ages

In the 6th century, the city passed to the Lombard Duchy of Benevento. The Saracens reached it before the Norman conquest of southern Italy. In the 12th century, Potenza became an episcopal see. In 1137, the city hosted Pope Innocent II and Emperor Lothair II during their failed attempt to conquer the Norman kingdom. In 1148 or 1149 in Potenza, Roger II of Sicily hosted king Louis VII of France, whom the Norman fleet had freed from the Saracens. After pillaging by Emperor Frederick II, the city remained loyal to the Hohenstaufen: as a result, it was almost totally destroyed by Charles I when the Angevin lord conquered the Kingdom of Sicily. On December 18, 1273, an earthquake further devastated the city.

Modern age

Cathedral Square.
In the following years, the city existed quietly under various feudal owners. Potenza was the site of riots against Spanish domination, and in 1694 it was almost completely destroyed by another earthquake. With the declaration of the Neapolitan Republic in 1799, Potenza was one of the first cities to rebel against the king. After temporary Bourbon repression, the city was conquered by the French army in 1806, and declared the capital of Basilicata. King Joachim Murat improved the city's living conditions and administration, and some urban improvements were introduced for the visit of Ferdinand II in 1846. A revolt broke out in 1848 and was again put down by Bourbon forces, and a third devastating earthquake followed in 1857. Potenza rebelled for the last time in 1860, before Garibaldi's revolutionary army brought about the unification of Italy. In September 1943, the city suffered heavy Allied bombing. In 1980, another strong earthquake struck Potenza.

Main sights

  • The Duomo (Cathedral) of San Gerardo, renovated in the 18th century. The cathedral still houses the rose window and the apse from the original 12th-century structure.
  • The Church of San Francesco, founded in 1274. The portal and the bell tower date from the 15th century. The church houses the De Grasis sepulchre and a Madonna in Byzantine style (13th century).
  • The Torre Guevara, the last remnant of the old castle. It is now used to stage art exhibitions.
  • The Palazzo Loffredo, a 17th century noble residence. it is now the seat of the "Dinu Adamesteanu" National Archaeological Museum.
  • Three gates of the old city walls, now demolished. The gates are the Porta S.Giovanni, the Porta S.Luca and the Porta S. Gerardo.
  • The Romanesque church of San Michele (11th-12th centuries).
  • The Church of Santa Maria del Sepolcro.
  • The ruins of a Roman villa in the Poggio Tre Galli quarter.

The Region of Basilicata

Region of Basilicata and Mount Vulture
Basilicata (Italian pronunciation: [baziliˈkaːta]), also known as Lucania, is a region in the south of Italy, bordering on Campania to the west, Apulia (Puglia) to the north and east, and Calabria to the south, having one short southwestern coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea between Campania in the northwest and Calabria in the southwest, and a longer one to the southeast on the Gulf of Taranto on the Ionian Sea between Calabria in the southwest and Apulia in the northeast. The region can be thought of as the "instep" of Italy, with Calabria functioning as the "toe" and Apulia the "heel". The region covers about 10,000 km2 and in 2010 had a population slightly under 600,000. The regional capital is Potenza. The region is divided into two provinces: Potenza and Matera.


Basilicata covers an extensive part of the southern Apennines, between Ofanto in the north and the Monte Pollino massif in the south. It is bordered on the east by a large part of the Bradano river depression which is traversed by numerous streams and declines to the south eastern coastal plains on the Ionian sea. The region also has a short coastline to the south west on the Tyrrhenian side of the peninsula. Basilicata is the most mountainous region in the south of Italy, with 47% of its area of 9,992 km2 covered by mountains, whereas 45% is hilly and 8% is made up of plains. Geological features of the region include the volcanic Monte Vulture and the seismic faults in the Melfi and Potenza areas in the north and around Monte Pollino in the south. Much of the region was devastated in an 1857 earthquake. More recently, there was another major earthquake in 1980.

The combination of the mountainous terrain combined with the rock and soil types makes landslides prevalent. While the lithological structure of the substratum and its chaotic tectonic deformation contribute to the cause of landslides, this problem is compounded by the lack of forested land. This area, similar to others in the Mediterranean region, while originally abundant with dense forests, was stripped and made barren during the time of Roman rulers. The variable climate is influenced by three coastlines (Adriatic, Ionian and Tyrrhenian) and the complexity of the region's physical features. The climate is continental in the mountains and Mediterranean along the coasts.



Venosa, fossile elephant skeleton
The first traces of human presence in Basilicata date to the late Palaeolithic Age, with findings of the Homo erectus. Late Cenozoic fossils, found at Venosa and other locations, include elephants, rhinoceros and species now extinct such as the Machairodus saber-toothed cat. Examples of rock paintings, from the Mesolithic have been discovered near Filiano. From the 5th millennium BC people stopped living in caves, and built settlements of huts up to the rivers leading to the interior (Tolve, Tricarico, Alianello, Melfi, Metaponto). In this period, the Homo sapiens sapiens lived by cultivating cereals and animal husbandry (Bovinae and Caprinae). Chalcolithic sites include the grottoes of Latronico and the funerary findings of the Cervaro grotto near Lagonegro.  The first known stable market center of the Apennine culture on the sea, consisting of huts on the promontory of Capo la Timpa, near to Maratea, dates to the Bronze Age. The first indigenous Iron Age communities lived in large villages in plateaus located at the borders of the plains and the rivers, in places fitting their breeding and agricultural activities. Such settlements include that of Anglona, located between the fertile valleys of Agri and Sinni, of Siris and, on the Ionic Coast, of Incoronata-San Teodoro. The first presence of Greek colonists, coming from the Greek islands and Asia Minor, date from the late 8th century BC.

There are virtually no traces of survival of the 11th-8th century BC archaeological sites of the settlements (aside from a necropolis at Castelluccio) on the Tyrrhenian coast: this was perhaps caused by the increasing presence of Greek colonies, which changed the balance of the trades.

Ancient history

Metaponto: the Temple of Hera
In ancient historical times region was originally known as Lucania, named for the Lucani, an Osco-Samnite population from central Italy. Their name might be derived from Greek Leukos meaning "white", Lykos ("Wolf"), or Latin Lucus ("Sacred Wood").  Starting from the late 8th century BC, the Greeks established a settlement first at Siris, founded by fugitives from Colophon. With the foundation of Metaponto from Achaean colonists, it started the conquest of the whole Ionian coast. There were also indigenous Oenotrian foundations on the coast, which exploited the nearby presence of the Greek such as Velia and Pyxous for their maritime trades. The first contacts between the Lucanians and the Romans date from the latter half of the 4th century BC. After the conquest of Taranto in 272, the Roman rule was extended to the whole region: the Via Appia reached Brindisi and the colonies of Potentia (modern Potenza) and Grumentum were founded.

Middle Ages

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Basilicata fell to German rule, which ended in the mid-6th century when the Byzantines reconquered it from the Ostrogoths. They also renamed the region as "Basilicata", from the Greek term basilikos, meaning "imperial". The region, deeply Christianized since as early as the 5th century, become part of the Lombard Duchy of Benevento in 568. In the following centuries, Saracen raids led most of the population to move from the plain and coastal settlements to more protected centers located on hills. The towns of Tricarico and Tursi were under Muslim rule for a period.  In 968 it was reconquered by the Byzantines, and the theme of Lucania was established, with the capital at Tursikon (Tursi). In 1059 Basilicata, together with the rest of southern Italy, was conquered by the Normans. Later it was inherited by the House of Hohenstaufen, who were ousted in the 13th century by Angevine domination: the expulsion of most of the "Saracen" population and the establishment of a strict feudal system hampered any hopes of an economic recovery for the region, which remained in abject poverty.

Modern Age

The Sassi di Matera
In 1485, Basilicata was the seat of plotters against King Ferdinand I of Naples, the so-called "Conspiracy of the Barons", which included the Sanseverino of Tricarico, the Caracciolo of Melfi, the Gesualdo of Caggiano, the Orsini Del Balzo of Altamura and Venosa and other anti-Aragonese families. Later, Charles V stripped most of the barons of their lands, replacing them with the Carafa, Revertera, Pignatelli and Colonna among the others. After the formation of Neapolitan Republic (1647), Basilicata also rebelled, but the revolt was suppressed. In 1663 a new province was created in Basilicata with its capital in Matera.

The region became part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1735. Basilicata autonomously declared its annexation to the Kingdom of Italy on August 18, 1860 with the Potenza insurrection. It was during this period that the State confiscated and sold off vast tracts of Basilicata's territory formerly owned by the Church. As the new owners were a handful of wealthy aristocratic families, the average citizen did not see any immediate economic and social improvements after unification and poverty continued unabated. This gave rise to the phenomenon of brigandage whereby the Church encouraged the local people to rise up against the nobility and the new Italian State. This strong opposition movement continued for many years. Carmine Crocco from Rionero in Vulture was the most important chief in the region and the most impressive leader in south Italy.

It was only really after the World War II that things slowly began to improve thanks to land reform. In 1952, the inhabitants of the Sassi di Matera were re-housed by the State, but many of Basilicata’s population had emigrated or were in the process of emigrating, which led to a demographic crisis from which it is still recovering.

At the beginning of 1994, UNESCO declared Sassi di Matera a World Heritage Site. Meanwhile, Fiat Italian automobile manufacturer established a huge factory in Melfi, leading to jobs and an upsurge in the economy. In the same year the Pollino National Park was established.


    • Provincia di Potenza.  http://www.provincia.potenza.it/provincia/home.jsp
    • Regione Basilicata. http://www.regione.basilicata.it/giunta/site/giunta/home.jsp