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The Black Madonna of East 13th Street: Italian American Religious Devotion in the East Village

Silvio Amori, Proprietor, Il Covo Dell’Est and Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa

Black Madonna Exhibition of the New World

Black Madonna Rediscovered
Cav. Maria Fosco, Cav. Nicholas Spilotro, Cav. Ted Jacobsen of the Central Labor Council

Consul General of Italy in New York, Hon. Antonio Bandini


Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa, CUNY Trustee Kathleen Pesile

Mrs. Consuelo Bandini, CUNY Trustee Kathleen Pesile, Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimo` and Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa
Consul General of Italy in New York, Honorable Antonio Bandini

Entertainers Michela Musolino and Wilson Montauri

CUNY Trustee Kathleen Pesile with friends from the College of Staten Island

Monday, September 8, 2003
Il Covo dell'Est
210 Avenue A
(corner of East 13th Street) Manhattan

On September 8, 1905, in Manhattan's Lower East Side, immigrants from Patti (Messina province), Sicily celebrated their first feast in honor of the Madonna del Tindari, one of numerous miraculously powerful black madonnas venerated throughout Italy. The following year, they formed the mutual aid association "Il Comitato Pattese alla Vergine SS. del Tindari."

In 1913, the group established a chapel at 447 East 13th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A, where a stucco statue of Madonna was on display. I. J. Isola, writing for the W.P.A. in 1936, noted: "The New York Black Madonna is credited by believers, with possessing the miraculous curative powers of the original, as is attested by the many votive offerings at her shrine[,] . . . in semblance of cures received on different parts of the body, such as arms, legs, hands, breasts, etc."

The Sicilian American residents diminished as did the local devotion to the Black Madonna. In 1987, the lay religious society was dissolved and the statue was given to a New Jersey family who had attended the annual feast since the mid-1930s. The building which once housed the social club is now a tavern.

Please join us for cocktails at the restaurant Il Covo dell'Est to commemorate this history of Italian American life and religious devotion in the East Village.

Introduction by Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa, Italian American Museum
Opening song by singer Michela Musolino and guitarist Wilson Montuari
Greetings by the Hon. Antonio Bandini, Consul General of New York, and restaurateur Silvio Amori
Dr. Joseph Sciorra of the Calandra Insitute will present on the devotion to La Madonna del Tindari in Sicily and the United States.

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