Vatican City

Pope to visit Sardinia shrine Buenos Aires named after

Francis to pray to Cagliari's Our Lady of Fair Winds in Sep

Pope to visit Sardinia shrine Buenos Aires named after

Vatican City, May 15 - Pope Francis is to visit a shrine in Sardinia that gave his hometown Buenos Aires its name, the pontiff told Sardinian pilgrims at his general audience Wednesday. The visit to the shrine, venerated by mariners for almost 700 years, will probably be in September, the Vatican said. Francis's predecessor Benedict XVI visited the Nostra Signora di Bonaria (Our Lady of Fair Winds) shrine in the Sardinian capital Cagliari in 2008. Cagliari was conquered by the Aragonese kings from Spain in 1324 who set up their headquarters on a hill they called Buen Ayre (Bonaria) because it did not get the foul-smelling air from swamps outside the city. During the siege of Cagliari, the Aragonese built a sanctuary to the Virgin Mary on top of the hill. A statue of Mary was later claimed to have been found in the sea after it miraculously helped to calm a storm, saving sailors. Spanish sailors, especially Andalusians, venerated this image and frequently invoked the Fair Winds to aid them in their navigation and prevent shipwrecks. A sanctuary to the Virgin of Buen Ayre was later erected in Seville. The founder of Buenos Aires, Spanish conquistador Pedro de Mendoza, dubbed the city Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires (Holy Mary of the Fair Winds) in 1536.

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