This December 7, on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis sent a letter to the Archbishop of Syracuse (Italy), Bishop Francesco Lomanto , to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the tears of the Virgin of Syracuse, shed over the head of the marriage bed, in the house of a poor family.

The miracle happened in 1953 in the modest home of the spouses Angelo Iannus and Antonina Lucie Giusto . The couple had a picture of the Virgin Mary made in relief on plaster in their room. For four days, between August 29 and September 1, human tears fell from the eyes of the image.

The Iannuso couple received an image of the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin as a wedding gift, and the first to see the miracle was Antonina, pregnant with their first child.

Mary’s cry in the warmth of home

“Since then, the Syracuse Church has lovingly and devoutly preserved such tears, which often reach the sick, the elderly, the suffering, church communities in various parts of the world, as a sign of the close and sensitive presence of the Mother of God and ours,” the Holy Father points out in his letter.

“Mary’s cry shows her participation in the compassionate love of the Lord, who suffers for us, his children; who eagerly awaits our conversion; who is waiting for us as a merciful Father to forgive us everything and always”, he continues.

Pope Francis says that this miracle happened “in the uncertain context of the post-war period, in a modest town house where a modest family lived.”

“These circumstances remind us of the privileged love of the Lord, the lover of life, towards the poor and the needy,” he adds.

A sign that indicates family

The Pope then emphasizes: “The incredible event that took place in the intimacy of the home invites us to consider the extraordinary beauty of the domestic home, the center of love and life, and to support the family based on marriage , emphasizing the intrinsic value of the fundamental cell of society and the Church.” Before ending with a prayer to the Virgin Mary, the Pope hopes that her “motherly care encourages the faithful to build and follow paths of peace and forgiveness, and to become close to those who are sick in body and spirit, to those who are alone and abandoned.”

Pope Francis’ prayer

Below is the prayer with which the Holy Father ends his letter:

O Virgin Mary,
follow the path of the Church
with the gift of your holy tears,
give peace to the whole world
and protect your children
with your maternal protection.
Support us in faithfulness to God,
in serving the Church
and in love for all our brothers.