Thursday, July 1, 2010

Healing Your Ailments

Nook of Naples: Catholic devotion and miracles go hand in hand in Naples. The Feast of San Gennaro is only one example of the abundant miracles taking place in this city. In the church of Gesu Nuovo (built in 1584), the walls and ceilings of two side chapels are crowded with silver body parts. These ornaments are most numerous in the side chapel that houses the remains of San Giuseppe Moscati, a physician canonized a saint in 1987:

Worshippers place these silver body parts here to either ask San Giuseppe to heal an ailment or to thank him for having already healed their disease. But first, they must purchase the ornament from a religious shop, many of which pepper the two main arteries of Spaccanapoli -- Via Tribunali and Via San Biagio dei Librai.

At Statuaria Sacra, the owner has a shoe box behind the cashier's desk with a bevy of silver and faux-silver body parts that range in price from 20-60 Euro. The ornaments include legs, arms, heads, livers, stomachs, pancreas, throats as well as full body men, women and children. He was kind enough to let me photograph these ornaments and explained that this tradition is a Neapolitan original.

Getting There:
Statuaria Sacra
Via S. Biagio Dei Librai, 76
Napoli 80138

Church of Gesu Nuovo
Piazza del Gesu Nuovo 2

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