Over 100 years old–Flight of Angels–From St. Philip Benizi to Harlem and Cermak

Thunderstorms did not cancel the traditional Flying of the Angels at the 113th Annual Maria SS. Lauretana Festival in Berwyn, Illinois Saturday night. Founded in December of 1900, the Maria SS. Lauretana Society of Altavilla Milicia in Chicago is a faith-based organization dedicated to maintaining the faith and traditions of our ancestors in honor of the Blessed Virgin under the title of Maria Santissima Lauretana. Each year, in veneration of our Blessed Mother, the Maria SS. Lauretana Society celebrates the traditions of honoring Her during a 4 day festival on Labor Day weekend in Berwyn, IL. ~ Its founding is rooted in folk lore that fishermen of Altavilla Milicia, Sicily found the painting of Her Holy Image floating in the sea untouched. When it was brought back, two neighboring towns claimed it belonged to them. To settle the dispute they put the picture on a cart pulled by two oxen and where they stopped was where the sanctuary would be built. Immediately, the oxen took to the highest spot in Altavilla and stayed there without food or water for three days. Since then, the people of Altavilla have held a feast over the first weekend of September in her honor.  To tell their story, men (fratelli) dress in fishermen's garb on that Sunday and carry Her Holy Image on a 'ship' weighing close to two tons through the streets. On that same Sunday, the Society asks for Her protection with the traditional Flight of the Angels. Two girls are chosen to learn a customary Sicilian prayer that asks this of Our Lady and are 'flown' from a rope above the 'ship' dressed as angels from heaven. ~

Thunderstorms did not cancel the traditional Flying of the Angels at the 113th Annual Maria SS. Lauretana Festival in Berwyn, Illinois Saturday night.
Founded in December of 1900, the Maria SS. Lauretana Society of Altavilla Milicia in Chicago is a faith-based organization dedicated to maintaining the faith and traditions of our ancestors in honor of the Blessed Virgin under the title of Maria Santissima Lauretana. Each year, in veneration of our Blessed Mother, the Maria SS. Lauretana Society celebrates the traditions of honoring Her during a 4 day festival on Labor Day weekend in Berwyn, IL.
~ Its founding is rooted in folk lore that fishermen of Altavilla Milicia, Sicily found the painting of Her Holy Image floating in the sea untouched. When it was brought back, two neighboring towns claimed it belonged to them. To settle the dispute they put the picture on a cart pulled by two oxen and where they stopped was where the sanctuary would be built. Immediately, the oxen took to the highest spot in Altavilla and stayed there without food or water for three days. Since then, the people of Altavilla have held a feast over the first weekend of September in her honor.
To tell their story, men (fratelli) dress in fishermen’s garb on that Sunday and carry Her Holy Image on a ‘ship’ weighing close to two tons through the streets. On that same Sunday, the Society asks for Her protection with the traditional Flight of the Angels. Two girls are chosen to learn a customary Sicilian prayer that asks this of Our Lady and are ‘flown’ from a rope above the ‘ship’ dressed as angels from heaven. ~Santissima Maria Lauretana 2013 Flight of the Angels

 

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About Dominic Candeloro

Dominic Candeloro, 1401 Cleveland Avenue LaGrange Park, IL 60526 Candeloro@CasaItaliaChicago.org, dcandeloro@luc.edu 708-354-0952 Cell 847-951-910 http://tinyurl.com/candeloro 2012-13-Adjunct Prof. Italian American History, Loyola University Chicago 1981-present—Part-time volunteer program co-ordinator and librarian Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia 2001-2006 Executive Director, American Italian Historical Association 2005-----Co Director of the Exhibit “The Dream...per non dementicare” Archivio Centrale dello Stato-Roma 1995-2003 Special Assistant to the Mayor of Chicago Heights Director, Conferences/Workshops & Weekend College, Governors State University Adjunct Professor of History 1977-1982 Visiting Assistant Professor - History, University of Illinois, Chicago.and Director of the "Italians in Chicago" Project, $300,000 NEH Grant (1979-1982). 1976-1977 Visiting Assistant Professor - History, University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign. Ph.D. University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign, History. Dissertation: ,Louis Freeland Post: Carpetbagger, Singletaxer, Progressive." J. Leonard Bates, Advisor. B.A. Northwestern University, 1982-1983 Fulbright Research Fellowship, Italy.

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