In a country with so many shrines, many of which are devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, some are often overlooked by visitors. Such is the case here in this small town about 120 miles Southeast of Rome.
The history of the Sanctuary of Castelpetroso dates from March 22, 1888. Two peasants were farming some land and had brought two sheep with them. They discovered that one was missing and so they split up, and one of them found the sheep standing outside a cave. A luminous light came from it and he was surprised by a vision of Our Lady of Sorrows at the foot of the Cross. He called for his companion, but he could see nothing . Ten days later, April 1 (which happened to be Easter), Our Lady appeared again and this time both men could see her.
As you might suspect, many people were doubtful and suspected the men of making up the story; however, there were some who went to the spot to pray. In September of that year the local Bishop went to the spot and he was graced with the same vision. As if further proof was needed, a spring suddenly appeared in the ground near the cave.
Many thousands have visited here over the years, including Pope John Paul II in 1995. Pope Francis visited here in July 2014.
The Basilica is open from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. daily, although those attending early Mass are admitted by 6:30 a.m. Facilities include a cafe open for lunch and dinner, a hostel with option of full board and a gift shop.
Masses at 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Confessions are heard throughout the day.
The Feast day is celebrated on March 22 and the last Sunday of September.
Castelpetroso is about 120 miles south of Rome. The nearest train station is Isernia. There are several trains from Rome daily: the direct train takes about two hours or, in some cases, you have change trains in Naples, in which case the travel time is about three hours. From Naples it is much shorter of course. From Isernia you can take a bus or taxi to the Shrine.
Address: Via del Santuario, 40, 86090 Castelpetroso IS, Italy
GPS coordinates: 41° 32' 58.4916'' N, 14° 18' 34.8912'' E
Tel / Fax: +39 936 110 0865