Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saint Anne Pilgrimage

Today is the feast of Saint Ann. Who is she you may ask? Well, I was Lutheran most of my life so I asked too.
She was Mary's mother, Jesus' grandmother. She is often depicted as an older, gray-haired mother with a young girl (Mary) who is sometimes then shown holding a small Jesus. Many women in Italy feel particularly close to her, as she is the patron saint of women in labor (now I find out!) and miners, as well as such diverse places as Quebec Canada, Puerto Rico, Detroit Michigan, Taos New Mexico and the Philippines.

Not far from where I live is a village called San Guiseppe le Prata (St. Joseph in the field), with a church named Santa Anna. She is the patron saint of this small town too, and today is their feast day, which means several special masses and processions with the church, as well as concerts and fireworks at night.
My girlfriends invited me to come along with them on a pilgrimage, on foot, from our town to Santa Anna , about 5 km away. So, at 5 in the morning I joined about 150 other women from the village (and a handful of men) on a slow two-hour walk to the 7 a.m. mass. While walking the women sang and said the rosary. After the mass we each bought a ciambella and caught rides home.
Ciambella is a local bread which we call the Italian bagel, but it's only similarity is that it's ring-shaped. In some parts of Italy it is a ring-like cake made for Easter, but here it is a very plain braided ring-shaped bread, hard on the outside and somewhat softer and chewy inside, about 10 inches in diameter. You break off a piece and start chewing. It's best when you have something handy to wash it down!
Auguri to any Anna's who may be reading this (as well as women in labor and older mothers)!


Stefanaccio said...

Ciambella is one of my favorites. Nice site. Complimenti!!

Anonymous said...

Sounded like a lovely day celebrating women.

Diane said...

Yes, a morning meditating on grandmothers, mothers and motherhood.

Thank you stefanaccio for your kind words.

I LOVE comments!

Anonymous said...

When I was little we had a slightly naughty thing to mutter in church that went, "Holy Annie, God's grannie, ora pro nobis" :-)

Jennyff said...

Hi, I just found your blog, its great. We have a holiday rental house in the Frosinone region, do you know of any good wool shops in the area?

Diane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane said...

Margi--sorry, but you'll need to translate! Remember, I've only been a Catholic for a few years.

Jenny--we're practically neighbors! Where in the Frosinone area is your house? Are you there just cerain months of the year? As far as wool, I import mine in my luggage when I go to NY. Ironically, lots of it is "Made in Italy" (or Germany) but I can't find it around here. In Rome there are a couple of shops with nice stuff, or so I've heard. At the weekly Frosinone market there is usually someone who sells your standard yarn, nothing special. I could probably mail order some yarn from a business within the European Union without much probem, but I haven't tried it yet.

Jennyff said...

Diane, if you email me at I'll have your address and let you know about our house, its in the village of Serrone, and my desire to purchase wool in Italy.