The Shrines of Ostra
Apparitions, miracles and healing waters
What it is and where it is located
Ostra is a small town nestled in the hills of the Marche region. Its ancient charm is accompanied by a strong spirituality capable of attracting many pilgrims who come to ask for a grace from the Virgin Mary. Right here, in fact, there are no less than two shrines dedicated to the Virgin: the Sanctuary of Santa Maria Apparve, in the Fornace locality, and the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Rosa, with its large square. Guiding and protecting the faithful is always her, the Mother of God.
Why she is special
The two shrines are linked to prodigies that occurred precisely at the hands of the Virgin: Our Lady of the Rose is said to have granted many graces and to the faithful who had asked her for help, while the construction of the Shrine of Santa Maria Apparve is linked to the end of the plague in the city. Visiting them is still today a very heartfelt act of the faithful, so much so that, especially at Our Lady of the Rose, many votive offer ings remain that tell of the hopes and sufferings of pilgrims, including our military personnel on leave or about to leave for the front.
Not to be missed
What the two shrines have in common are the nearby water fountains, the originators of frequent healings and a constant destination of pilgrimages. In particular, the marble F ountain (dating from 1949) of Our Lady of the Rose has a reservoir where water from the well below the altar is brought. Such a Fountain will facilitate the drawing of the prodigious water the greater the influx of devotees.
A bit of history
Between 1527 and 1529 the plague spread throughout Italy and also affected Montalboddo (today Ostra). On the site where the church stands today, one day an image of Our Lady revealed itself to a shepherd boy. She asked him to have a church dedicated to her erected: in return she would intervene to eradicate the plague. And so it was. At the time of the blessing of the new church, a black cloud was seen arriving and slowly dissipating. The plague disappeared, while the image of Our Lady revealed some dark spots on her face, a sign that her intercession had been decisive.
It is said that in 1666 the image of the Virgin was painted in a small chapel at the foot of a hill planted with olive trees and within walking distance of a very clear spring. She was depicted enthroned with the Child standing on her lap. The Child rests his left arm on the Mother's neck, while with the other he holds a thread to which is tied a fluttering swallow. The Madonna, on the other hand, supports the Child with her right hand while with her left she presents a red rose in front of the nakedness of her Son. And it is from this rose that the Virgin and her shrine take their name: Madonna of the Rose.