BETWEEN MEDICINE AND FAITH.

THE HISTORY OF THE ALLEGED BLESSED ALBERTO BESOZZI AND THE AUTHENTICITY OF HIS RELICS

  • Paola Badino
  • Rosagemma Ciliberti
  • Omar Larentis
  • Francesca Monza
  • Marta Licata University of Insubria
Keywords: Medieval hermit’s cave, Blessed Alberto Besozzi, funeral atrium, Rinascimental sacellum, place of pilgrims

Abstract

https://doi.org/10.31952/amha.19.1.5

The monastery of Saint Catherine of Sasso was built overhanging the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore in the municipality of Leggiuno (VA). In particular, our paper concerns the relics housed in the Sacellum of the church of St. Caterina. According to the tradition, the first Sacellum dedicated to the saint was built before the 16th century over a medieval hermit’s refuge. The chronicle, the Historieta, remembers that, in the 12th century, a merchant of Arolo, Alberto Besozzi, survived the lake crossing shipwreck and made a vow to St. Catherine of Alexandria. He decided to retreat in prayer in a cave on that part of the coast.

The Sacellum, now incorporated in the monastery complex (at the bottom of the central nave of the church), preserved human remains of Blessed Alberto in the past.

We present the important role that the Sacellum and the relics have played not only for the faith, but also for the devotion of pilgrims and local people. In this context, this monument is related to the sense of religiosity and spirituality that pervaded medieval life, where every form of prayer is to be materialized in the physicality of a tangible creation.

Published
2021-06-17