Visit to San Giovanni, September 2011

Mary Malone and husband Malcolm Vickers visited the Shrine of Padre Pio recently. Sister Frances invited Mary and Malcolm to join her in San Giovanni to celebrate her Golden year since becoming aNun in 1960. She first joined the order of “Saint Joseph of Peace” and for the last 22 years has been in the “Carmelite” order. 

We left Liverpool on time at 6-10am on the 21st of September for our 5 night stay. The flight to Naples was 2 hours and 45 minutes. Our journey then to San Giovanni, home of Saint Padre Pio’s Shrine, was a further 3 hours.

The Church of Saint of santa philomena

A very special treat was in store for Mary as Sister Maria had organized a visit to a large church about 45 minutes from Naples, which is dedicated to Saint Philomena.  Sister Frances knew that Mary has a great admiration and devotion to Saint Philomena, but did not know the full story. When Mary was 15 years old she lost an infant sister named Philomena who had been only 12 months old.

With Mary being only a teenager herself this had a profound effect upon her, and always as part of her Prayer Office she mentions her young sister. Mary carries out her Prayer Office at 9am, 12pm, 3pm, and 6pm each day for people on her Prayer list.

Even if people don’t have a special calling towards Saint Philomena, Mary thoroughly recommends that anyone visiting the Naples area should please call in at the fabulous Church and Museum totally dedicated to this wonderful Saint, Our Lady of Grace in Mugnano del Cardinale.

 (A full report and lots of photos regarding Saint Philomena’s Church will be uploaded on Mary’s web pages soon).

The Shrine of Saint michael

Another special treat for Mary was a visit organized again by the enigmatic Sister Frances on the third day at San Giovanni to the 5th Century Shrine of Saint Michael the Archangel.

This early Christian Shrine must be indeed one of Christianity’s earliest Shrines dedicated to a Saint, and is only about 35 minutes driving from San Giovanni.

Sister Frances must be somewhat psychic herself to have organized these two visits to the two Saints that are very important through one reason or another to Mary. 

Since growing up in the small village of Bovinion, near Mountbellew which is about 14 miles from Galway Mary has a great affection for Saint Michael, and since embarking on her Healing Mission in 1983 has requested many interventions for all sorts of reasons from Saint Michael for people all around the World. Over the years Mary has had seven full size statues of Saint Michael the Archangel ordered and delivered to the person, or group involved. These statues have ended up in Hawaii, South Africa (2), Australia, New Zealand, California (2), and Mary presented the 7th statue to the Church in Fahy, Co Galway. This was just after the apparitions appeared on the Church wall in the mid nineties. Fr Cathel Stanley was the Priest at the time. This statue was commissioned by Mary from Italy and is a life sized perfect example of Italian craftsmanship.

From placing the order and delivery it was 8 weeks, and the last time Mary called in at this church it was still in a prominent location just on the left as you enter the Church.


Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel (5th to 14th Century)basilica of St Michael

Archangel Michael took up his residence in the original cave, towards the middle of the 5th Century.

In the Byzantie period an aisle was raised to make the cave  accessible on two levels. Two sets of steps were carved out of the rock for easier access

Finally in the 11th Century the cave underwent other changes by order of the then Bishop, Leone Caranico. This give the cave the current look of a Church.

The Church was embellished throughout the Centuries with several major architectural changes. The many alters inside the Cave date from the 5th Century. Also no-one realy knows how many important Christian Relics have been buried within the Church/Cave.  

Inside the Church it is worth seeing the marble “Bishops Throne” near the Alter of Saint Michael the Archangel which was completed in the 11th Century.

At the bottom of the Royal Throne are two very sharp reliefs from the 9th Century, one depicting Saint Michael holding the scales to weigh the Souls, and the other one depicting Saint Michael who draws his spear against the Dragon.

The original (most popular) statue of Saint Michael the Archangel made with white carrara marble in 1507 by Andrea Contucci, known as “Sansovino” is on display, and well worth the visit. 

The huge bronze doors of the Basilica were made in Constantinople in 1076 and contain a copper panel that depicts the Archangel holding a short bar in his right hand, as a symbol of the leadership of God over the Angels, and the Terrestrial Globe in the left hand depicting the hand of God giving the Blessings as is customary in the Orthodox Church. 

The English Room

On the 4th day of Mary’s visit to San Giovanni she was in the “English Room”, this is situated in the old Church, and is an information centre and bookstore where all the items inside are in English.

This location is also a meeting place for all English speaking Pilgrims. Mary was in this store with Sister Frances when two visitors from Dooradoyle, in Co Limerick (Patricia and Sandy) recognized Mary and approached her to talk. It happened that a very important member of San Giovanni’s TV was delivering a new batch of Padre Pio’s DVD’s and overheard the conversation. After the Limerick Ladies finished their talk with Mary he approached Mary and after a short talk said he would love to take Mary and Sister Frances to his studios in the complex and to do an impromptu interview with Mary.

His name is Brady White and he is the host of "Hello From San Giovanni Rotondo" on the Tele Radio Padre Pio Network which can be viewed on the Internet at or by satellite.

Mary’s segment is scheduled to air on the 28th of October 2011. Mary was thrilled to be able to share her experiences of Padre Pio and can’t wait to see the 20 minute TV show when it airs. 

"Hello from SGR" will appear twice during the day at 12:20 PM Italy time and again at 4:00 PM (16:00) Italy time. 

After the mass, there will be a short commercial, then the Angelus with video of Padre Pio, then "Hello from SGR" will come on. 

2nd showing starts at 4:00 PM (16:00) Italy time.  This is the best one to catch because it usually starts on time at 4:00 PM Italy time.

For example, Italy is six hours ahead of New York; if the show appears at approximately 12:20 PM Italy time, then it would appear approximately at 6:20 AM in the New York area.

"Hello from San Giovanni Rotondo" can be viewed by satellite or by going to look for the small TV screen on the upper right hand side of your computer screen and click.