The devotion to Our Lady of Consolata dates back to early years of Christianity. Her titles as Our Lady of Consolata reflects the attitude of early Christians towards Mary as a loving mother to whom, they would turn to in times of difficulties, tribulations and persecutions. The early Christians had may problems and in Mary they had a consoling mother a source of love, encouragement and hope.
Just as we receive consolation form Mary, she also expects consolation from us by our becoming Christ-like, so that, we would feel that she sacrifices and Christs death were not in vain.
The Origin of the Devotion
The devotion to Our Lady Consolata started in a natural way in the city of Turin in the 4th Century A.D. It is reported that 363 AD St.Eusebius brought a prized icon of Our Lady of Consolata from Egypt. The icon was given to Bishop Maximus of Turin who built the first Consolata Shrine there. Over this little Shrine, was later built St.Andrews Church. The people of Turin were greatly devoted to our Lady of Consolata and wanted to safeguard the holy icon in a small monetary out side the city of Turin where it remained hidden for over a hundred years.
In 1010 AD King Arduin of Ivrea was seriously ill. All Hopes of his recovery were given up. During his sickness he saw a vision of Our Lady who told him that he would recover and that she would like him to build a chapel in her honor under the title of Our Lady of Consolata.
The King did recover soon and in his gratitude for his recovery, he built a new Shrine replacing the old Church of St. Andrews.
The icon of Our Lady of Consolata remained in this Church for nearly another hundred year. Following a barbarian invasion of the city, the Church of St. Andrew was destroyed and the icon lay buried in ruins.
In 1104 a blind Frenchman named Ravache, had a vision of Our Lady who told him how to retrieve the icon of Our Lady of Consolata. He came to the ruins of the Church with a group of men. Ravache and his men dug for the relic to the amusement and sympathy of the great crowd gathered around. There was a tremendous jubilation and joy when the relic was recovered and a great surprise when the blind Ravache regained his sight.
This was the beginning of the revival of the devotion of Our Lady Consolata in Turin. Since then the city of Turin had many blessing from Our Lady Consolata. The plague of the middle ages did not touch Turing, the city was saved from the ravages of French and Spanish troops in 1706; it was not affected by the Cholera epidemics of 1835 and by the great explosion of 1852. Even the two world wars were relatively kind to the city.
By 1880, the Consolata Shrine in Turin had almost become a shanty when Fr. Joseph Allamano the founder of the Consolata Society renovated it.