Pope Francis to visit Sardinia shrine in September

Bonaria gave pope's hometown of Buenos Aires its name

Pope Francis to visit Sardinia shrine in September

Cagliari, May 17 - Pope Francis will visit the shrine in Sardinia that gave his hometown its name during a pilgrimage on September 22, church officials announced Friday. The pope will end his pilgrimage to the Nostra Signora di Bonaria (Our Lady of Fair Winds) shrine with a mass at the basilica in the Sardinian capital Cagliari. The shrine gave his hometown Buenos Aires in Argentina its name, the pontiff told Sardinian pilgrims at his general audience this week. The shrine has been venerated by mariners for almost 700 years and has housed a religious order since the 1300s. 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 in South America, 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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