In the area of Rocca Calascio, in Abruzzo, there is a small octagonal church built between the16th and 17th centuries: it is the solitary Santa Maria della Pietà, surrounded by the quiet hills of the Plain of Navelli.
According to legend, it was built by the local people to thank the Madonna for saving them from the attack of a group of bandits.
In the Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary is invoked as ‘salus’ and ‘spes’ (Latin for “salvation” and “hope”). Popular prayers, repeated century after century, call her “fons misericordiae, fons salutis et gratiae, fons pietatis et laetitiae, fons consolationis et indulgentiae” (from “Obsecro te”, translated as “I beseech thee”: “font of mercy, font of grace and well-being, font of piety and joy, font of consolation and indulgence”). Mary is also the “Tower of David” (mentioned in the Loreto Litanies, referring to Psalm 60’s “tower of strength against the foe”).
Whatever the truth about its origin may be, Santa Maria della Pietà really is a small oasis in Abruzzo, where anyone can find faith and strength to face any challenge.