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The Madonna del Carmelo Sanctuary

The Madonna del Carmelo Sanctuary is situated in the Bucalo quarter, near the Saracen Tower. It has been built instead of a 1507 church which was part of the Bucalo brothersí property and was bequeathed to the Jesuits. When in 1780 these were dismissed from the area, their properties were bought by the Marquis Carrozza; in 1892 then the properties of the Carrozzas were sold by auction to many families, like the Pelleris and the Fiorentinos.

The church was in the beginning dedicated to the Virgin of the Mount Carmelo; the Jesuits changed it to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but despite this the veneration of the Virgin was maintained and widespread, so that it prevailed again.

According to the description of Father Giampietro Rigano, who in documents of the time describe its original aspect, it was 10 metres long and had a small chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph situated near the tower. The Sancta Sanctorum was decorated with a curtain of stucco-works representing angels and symbols, the floors were decorated with marbles and on the altars were two paintings dating back to the XVI century, one representing the Crucifixion and the other one the Virgin giving out the traditional dresses to the Holy Carmelitans.

Around the year 1880, due to the growth of the population, the Church was no longer sufficient to receive all the people who wanted to attend the celebrations, and so it was made longer by 10 metres, and a square-based bell tower was added.

Despite its enlargement, the town of Santa Teresa still didnít have a patron saint. So in 1884 the faithful people asked the Pope Leo XIII through the Archbishop Guarino that the Madonna del Carmelo be proclaimed patron saint of the town. So the people had this wish fulfilled, and the 16th of July is considered day of obligation in the town: this happened in 1888, the same year when the wooden statue of the Madonna that is so far venerated in the Church was sculptured by Mr. Lo Turco in Mongiuffi Melia (near Letojanni). In 1904 it was proclaimed Metropolitan Church.

The church was then destroyed on the 24th of June 1929 to be rebuilt, starting on the 7th of October that same year and then inaugurated on the 9th of December 1934.

The new church, whose project was made by Giovanni CirinÚ and realized by Francesco Rigano, was meant to be in Romanesque style: it is a church with three naves, separated by a transept from the apse, where the high altar, built in marble from Trapani, and the niche where the statue of the Madonna is kept, are located. On the 14th of July 1958 the Church was proclaimed Sanctuary, and on the same occasion the statue was enriched with two golden crowns engraved with precious stones, for the Virgin and Child; together with two jewelled mantles, they are used every year for the Feast on the 16th of July, and they testify the always increasing faith and devotion of the people.

Photo: The Madonna del Carmelo Sanctuary Photo: The Madonna del Carmelo Sanctuary
Salvatore Mercurio
Hours Weekdays Masses
Hours Sunday Masses
7,30 - 10,15 - 17,30
Via Regina Margherita
Tel. 0942 791534