The Statue of the Virgin Mary, known as “La Madonnina di Borgo”
Countless pilgrims, believers, tourists, parishioners and Pisans stopped right here, in San Michele in Borgo by our ‘Madonnina’ to light a candle of devotion.
Many of these people from all over the world take pictures of our Madonna, and we’ve even noticed one on social media that had ended up on the Instagram profile of an American band!
DOMENICO VERNAGALLI - The shrine of the Blessed Domenico Vernagalli is located under the altar’s table in the chruch of San Michele
Domenico Vernagalli was born to a wealthy family, however, attracted to monastic life, he decided to give up his privileges and comforts to devote himself completely to Jesus. He entered the monastery of San Michele in Borgo around 1200 and became Parish Priest in 1204. He never abandoned the hard ascetic practices which he followed with great fervour.
Struck by the misfortune of the many unwanted and illegitimate children in Pisa in 1218 he built the “Spedale dei Trovatelli” a children’s orphanage near the church of San Michele in Borgo and sadly passed away the following year on April the 20th. Immediately after his death he was considered a Saint not only by the Pisans but by the Church itself.
On August the 17th 1858, Pope Pio IX (1846-1878) approved the Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites which declared Domenico Vernagalli beatified.
St. Michael, the Archangel
On the 29th of September the Church liturgy celebrates the festivity of Michael the Archangel. His name comes from the expression “Mi-ka-el”, which means “who is like God?”. Since nobody is like the Almighty, Michael fights all those who rise with pride against God. The Virgin Mary and St. Michael are commonly associated with the fight against the Devil; they are both commonly depicted with either: the serpent, the dragon or the devil himself under their feet. Michael The Archangel holds the devil under chain, threatening to stab him with his sword.
St Michael, the Archangel’s worship is widespread both in the East and in the West. The many churches, sanctuaries, monasteries and even mountains dedicated to him give evidence of this devotion.
In the Church of San Michele in Borgo, the altar of the right aisle houses the beautiful statue of St. Michael by Franco Adami.
The Rosary of St. Michael and all Angels
One day St. Michael appeared to a devout woman named Antonia de Astognac in Portugal. The Prince of Angels said to her he wanted to be worshipped with nine salutations corresponding to the nine Choirs of Angels.
The Archangel promised that whoever did this daily would be given his own protection as well as the assistance of all holy angels during life and in purgatory after death.
Although these revelations are not officially recognised by the Church, this devotion is widespread among faithful people devoted to St. Michael. The belief in the practice was reinforced by Pope Pio IX who added numerous indulgences to this pious exercise.
The Young people’s Crucifix
This Crucifix has a more recent history; it was donated personally by His Excellency Giovanni Paolo Benotto, Archbishop of Pisa to the young people of the town. Thanks to this gift, they now organize the well-known event, “Un Volto nella Notte” ( “A Face in the Night”). Over the years this event has grown more popular with the youth of Pisa, who regularly socialise in the town centre. In front of the Cross, the emotional and suggestive atmosphere makes it easy to go for Confession and be heard by the many priests attending the event.
Our calendar of appointments and events is published on our Home Page, but can also be found on Pisa’s Pastoral youth’s website http://www.pigipisa.it
In our church, on the right aisle above the confessional, you will find the paintings of the four cardinal virtues by Aurelio Lomi, a hidden treasure not to be missed.