Celebrating today’s feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Addolorata, brought me back to the church of my Italian great–grandmother, Donna Emma Onoratelli, in Sepicciano (Campania). I have had the privilege of celebrating Holy Mass there on numerous occasions. My dear cousins Carlo de Lellis, his wife Nora, and their children Ettore and Sissi now live in the palazzo Onoratelli just a few steps from the church. Whenever I visit them, they insist that I consider it my home too.
The church was built in 1742 as a private family chapel by my forbear the Marchese Don Clemente Onoratelli in fulfillment of a vow made to Saint Michael the Archangel. It contains an extraordinarily expressive statue of the Sorrowful Mother commissioned by the family. The ladies of the family considered it an honour to provide the Madonna with an exquisite black dress, mourning veil, and jewelry. In her hand she holds a delicate white handkerchief edged in lace. Unfortunately, I do not have a photograph of the statue. There are still many like it throughout the former Kingdom of Naples, in spite of the fact that unscrupulous antique