Chiostro di San Francesco da Paola - Vazzano
History has it that when saint Francis was bound to Milazzo, in Sicily, to found a new convent, he stopped in Vazzano , he stayed in the convent of the augustinian fathers, which was located in the same area where now is the cloister. , it was the fourth Sunday of August. Chronicles tell that the Saint, among other things , wanted to visit the chapel of the monks, which was in those times
entitled to Maria SS. Annunziata, now the little church is entitled to Saint Mary of the Rosary (commonly called “Chiesola”) where he pronounced a prophetic sentence : “ the day will come where your church will be my house, and where your house is will reign death ”.
The prophecy seems to be fulfilled, since now the church of the Rosary is commonly called church of Saint Francis, while the local cemetery is now located in the vicinity of the old augustian convent.
Since when Saint Francis was still alive, all over the county of Arena, and Vazzano was part of it, there was a strong devotion for the Saint of Paola, and as a sign of such devotion, father Nicola Grillo, had the idea to build a cloister as a monument in honor of the saint .
The first stone was put in 1982 and it was opened on 28 th August 1983 by the bishop of Mileto, Mons. Domenico Tarcisio Cortese, during the solemn celebrations of the community of Vazzano.
The cloister, dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola, was built on the same place were once stood the convent of the Holy Spirit of the augustinian fathers, through the years it was enlarged by different local priests. It is made of bricks and enriched by 13 representations with the miracles of Saint Francis and a majolica representing the miracle of the baby arriving in Vazzano from Santo Onofrio with the help of Saint Francis, for the celebrations in his honour.Surrounded by a green frame, we can also admire a beautiful sculpture representing the Crucifixion.
At the center of the cloister, on a stone pedestal, dominated by a bronze sculpture of Saint Francis of Paola, opened in 1983, reproducing the original wooden sculpture kept in the church of the Rosary. The wooden sculpture was commissioned in 1792 and carved in Serra San Bruno (VV) by Vincenzo Scrivo.
Vazzano is remember for some miracles related to the figure of Saint Francis of Paola. History has that a little girl from Sant’Onofrio, numb from birth, was taken by his devoted parents to Vazzano , on occasion of the celebrations in honour of Saint Francis. When the little girl arrived close to the statue of the saint, she was raised up and she started to speak .
Don sebastiano de Rosi, from Pizzo Calabro, was accussed of an homicide that he never committed, the man prayed with great devotion in front of the sacred statue of Saint Francis in Vazzano, When the day of judgement came, he went to court, and a monk was waiting there for him to revenge his innocence with details and witnesses against the real criminal. Mr De Rosi was absolved.
A little girl from Vazzano was left home, sleeping, while her parents were attending the religious celebrations in honour of Saint Francis, meanwhile the baby woke up and started to cry but she was consoled by a monk who took her by her hand to Vazzano and showed the little girl the exact place where were her parents. The parents were amazed to see their daughter , but most of all to learn that
it was Saint Francis himself to take the girl to them.
Eremo di Soreto - Dinami
The remains belong to an old franciscan monastery, considered the first witness of the devotion toSaint Francis in the Diocese of Mileto, whose construction goes back to the XV century.
Today the remains of the apses are visible and some walls of the majestic monumental complex built by the blessed Francesco Marino from Zumpano (CS), Augustinian monk, with the help of the count Giancola Conclubeth of Arena. The construction was started in 1490, and for mysterious reasons, remained uncompleted , probably because of a curse by the same blessed Francesco from Zumpano. In 1505 , when it was about to be completed, the new count Gianfrancesco, son of Giancola , a great devote to Saint Francis of Paola, got hold of the convent from the Augustinian monks to give it to the minini order of Saint Francis. History has that the pain of the blessed
Francesco from Zumpano was so big, that he cursed the place by wishing that it had to become “Nidu di ciavuli” – nest of crows.
In fact the presence of the minimi order of saint Francis did not last too long because they abandoned the place to move to Laureana di Borrello (RC), in the new house built by themselves.
The Augustinian monks didn’t want to return back to the monastery anymore and the count of Arena gave it to the monks of the order of Saint Francis of Assisi of Arena. They also lived here very little because at the beginning of XVII century only a monk and a tertiary lived here, in 1654 it was abandoned for good because of a lack of vocations . In the meanwhile , after this long abandon , the church collapsed and the cells of the monks turned to ruins, but also the negligence of people that robbed some of the ruins to re-use the stones. The wall of this old XVI century gave shelter to many hermit monks, that eventually died here.
This place has a particular historic value as a witness of the holiness of Saint Francis of Paola because in this same place were heard the witnesses about the miracle of the passing of the strait of Messina on a cloth and a beautiful letter, of Count of Arena, is still preserved asking Pope Leon X to insert Francis among the saints.
Between the 70’s and the 80’s of XIX century a restoration work was promoted is this historical place, thanks to the will of a devoted pensioner and arte lover called Francesco Tonzo. Between 1980 and 1985 was built a little church dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis of Paola and the blessed Francesco Marino from Zumpano. The architectonical project was made by the painter Salvatore and the it was realized thanks to the contribution of common people, emigrants, different artists and of the priest of those times, father Don Agostino Zangari. The church has a star-shaped plan and has been decorated with representations of miracles of the saint of
Paola, the statues of the saints to whom the church is dedicated , a wooden cross and a granite tablet where the Regolamento sulle gabelle di transito tra feudi nel XV secolo is carved.
In 2017 a majolica work has been opened to remember the miracoulous passing of the strait of Messina, by Saint Francis of Paola on a cloth, a miracle known up to today thanks to the countless witnesses collected in 1516 in Soreto.
Chiesa di San Francesco da Paola - Soriano
In an area of Soriano, called la Grecìa, stands the old church dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola. The church was built at the beginning of XVII century, as chapel of the confraternity dedicated to the saint of Paola. The confraternity of Saint Francis of Paola in Soriano downtown, had a lot of privileges , starting from April 1606, one could receive the plenary indulgence upon the feast of the saint.
According to documents and archive researches, the church of Soriano belonged to the family Barba, that had some altars of Jus patronato. At the end of the XVII century, on the altar of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Andra Barba, celebrations took place once a week. In the pastoral visit in 1706 is stated that once a week , in the confraternity church of Santo Franciscu, for masses were celebrated , one for the benefactor and three for the dearly departed Filippo Barba, and has many has wanted thanks to the legacy left by the priest Cesare Barba.
The church of the confraternity of Saint Francis of Paola, destroyed by a terrible earthquake in 1783, was later rebuilt, thanks to the help of the confraternity and local masters, but the building was still under reconstruction during the pastoral visit in May 1794, and the only existing altar was still missing of the sacred stone, the pulpit was missing and the windows had no glasses. During that same pastoral visit, we know that the old icon of Saint Mary of Providence, was waiting to be located, after at the side altar, where in was stood was destroyed. In 1818 the main altar, in wood, was placed, and the church had a wooden sculpture representing the patron saint.
The building, as we see it today, has a rectangular plan, a single nave and a pitched roof. The façade is characterized by four flat pilasters and a frieze where the XVIII bells are located, the entire surface is made of stones.
The interior of the church, enlightened by a series of four arched windows, enriched by stucco frames in XIX style. On the walls we can admire a series of five big paintings, made in 2006, and signed by C. Sofi , representing miracles worked by Saint Francis of Paola.
The main altar made of marble and stucco, hosts in the central niche a beautiful wooden sculpture representing the Virgin Mary, while on the side in cornu epistole is placed the XVIII wooden sculpture representing Saint Francis of Paola.
Attention worthy is the wooden main door, substituted in 2001, it is made of two decorated sides with four big medallions with representations of the life of Saint Francis of Paola, in the lower sides: the crossing of the strait of Messina, Saint Francis refusing a tray of coins at the court of the King Ferrante, in the lower sides: Saint Francis healing a man , the miracle of the lamb Martinello.