Since childhood, I have believed in the angelic realm. My devout Catholic parents instilled in me the belief of God and His legions of angels. I was taught the winged messengers were sent to earth to guide, protect, heal and manifest the dreams of all mankind. In order to receive their intervention, all one need to do is ask for help and the angelic realm would be dispatched from Heaven and respond to the earthly domain.
My affinity for the Archangels and most especially of Michael did not only begin with my religious upbringing. It began when the Archangel started visiting me as a child. Although I was not exactly sure who he was when he manifested, it was definitely love at first sight. In those early years, he was simply known to me as the “blue man.” A name I bestowed upon him because of his lovely cobalt blue aura. In time, Michael revealed himself to me when finally I asked him his name. On the nights he appeared, I would see him standing in the corner of my bedroom just smiling at me. The warmth of his light felt like an extra wool blanket had been placed on me as a shield. Even though I was but a child, Michael’s presence never caused me fear. On the contrary, it provided me with a deep sense of solace and eased my jitters about the darkened nights.
As an adult, it is obvious through my writings that my love for the Archangel continues. I’m constantly researching angelology and gathering information about Michael and his fellow Archangels. In a prior post, I wrote about St. Michael and a site which is dedicated in his honor. As a result, over these past few days, I have received messages from others who concur with my beliefs. Each of these lovely notes has included a story about an encounter with the ethereal creatures. With so much interest in the subject, I thought I’d use my skills from my prior profession in law enforcement and research historical facts about sacred sites and reports of angelic visitations. So periodically, I’ll post blogs about these sites and some historical facts as well.
For the initial blog, I’ve chosen ‘Monte Sant’ Angelo because it was the first site which popped up on my google search.
Some historical facts about St. Michael…
* Christian sanctuaries honoring St. Michael first appeared in the 4th century.
* Early Christian doctrine depicted Michael as the healing Archangel.
* Over time, he became known as the protector and leader of God’s army.
The story of ‘Monte Sant’ Angelo:
This popular Catholic shrine of ‘Monte Sant’ Angelo or Sanctuario di San Michele Arcangelo (The Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel) is regarded as the place in which the Archangel Michael appeared on several occasions. He first visited in 490, then in 492 and again in 1656.
This lovely sanctuary is located in Puglia, Italy in the hills on the the east coast of south-central Italy. The exterior is fairly unassuming. It is marked by an octagonal 13th-century campanile (bell tower) and a white facade with two portals. The architecture of the shrine is Gothic in it’s design.
The story of St. Michael’s visit is based on the saga of a nobleman who lost the prized bull of his herd. After much searching, he found it kneeling in a cave. Unable to approach the animal, he shot it with an arrow. Instead of the arrow piercing the bull, it switched direction and struck the aristocrat.
Bewildered by the event, the nobleman went to see his bishop. The Metropolitan ordered him to engage in three days of prayer and fasting. At the end of the three days, St. Michael the Archangel is said to have appeared to the Bishop and delivered the following message.
“I am Michael the Archangel and am always in the presence of God. I chose the cave that is sacred to me. There will be no more shedding of bull’s blood. Where the rocks open widely, the sins of men may be pardoned. What is asked here in prayer will be granted. Therefore, go up to the mountain cave and dedicate it to the Christian God.”
After seeing the vision, the Bishop began to fear for his own sanity and dismissed the apparition. Two years later, the City of Siponto (part of the Bishop’s diocese), came under attack by the City Odoacre. St. Michael made a second appearance to the Bishop. This time promising to save the city of Siponto. A violent storm then engulfed Odoacre and it was destroyed. In gratitude to the Archangel, the Clergyman led a procession to the top of the mountain, but did not enter the cave.
For a third time, Michael appeared to the Bishop and beckoned him to enter the cave. The Archangel again spoke and heralded a message.
“It is not necessary that you dedicate this church that I have consecrated with my presence. Enter and pray with my assistance and celebrate the Sacrifice. I will show you how I have consecrated this place.”
The Bishop entered the grotto, where he found an altar covered with a red cloth, a crystal cross, and a footprint on the ground. He then commissioned a chapel to be built at the entrance to the cave, but did not consecrate it as directed by Michael. The church came to be known as the Celestial Basilica.
During a great plague in 1656, St. Michael made another visit to the village. The local bishop invoked the Archangel for protection and the plague ended. As a result, the shrine became even more popular among the pilgrims who visited the site.
This lovely sanctuary built in the Italian hills has been a place of pilgrimage for many centuries. St. Francis of Assisi is said to have visited it to ask for the protection of the Archangel. The sanctuary is included as one of the Italy’s sacred sites.
The initial sighting of 490 at ‘Monte Sant’ Angelo dates back over 1500 years. This particular story of divine intervention has been passed down through the centuries and has survived the passage of time. The date of the angelic visitation adds further evidence about the long-standing belief in the angelic realm. A fact which is hard to dispute.