Relationship of Valle San Giovanni & Penns Grove, NJClick photos to enlarge
The statue serves as the destination for pilgrims who leave offerings (ex voto) at Mary's feet.
A replica of Teramo's statue of the Madonna was constructed in Italy in the mid 1920's and shipped to the Saint James Roman Catholic in Penns Grove where it remains. The Penns Grove statue depicts the Madonna standing.
Beginning 2 July, 1925 a festivity similar to the one in Teramo is held each year. Until recent years an outdoor procession began at St. James and wound its way through the streets of Penns Grove. Spectators experienced great joy viewing the enthusiastic parishioners who had placed the highest bid allowing them the privilege of carrying the statue through Penns Grove.
A passage in the book The Mother of Grace Society by A. Cataldi describes the religious festival and relationship between Penns Grove and Teramo in this way: ed: "On July 2, 1925, the first celebration of the Mother of Grace Feast took place. (The Penns Grove Record published a detailed report in the July 10, 1925 edition). The significance for this gala day of feasting for Catholics and Italians is to acknowledge that the Mother of Grace is the dispenser of Graces. It was from this “feast committee” that the Mother of Grace Society was organized.
The Mother of Grace Feast was a duplication of a feast celebrated in Teramo, Italy during the first Sunday of July each year. A replica Mother of Grace Statue (Madonna and Child) made in Teramo, Italy arrived in Penns Grove and was unveiled and blessed by the priest in the St James Roman Catholic Church on July 2, 1925 with a Solemn High Mass. Following the Mass, a parade of 400 participants led by Grand Marshall Luigi Nicolini marched through the streets of Penns Grove with the Mother of Grace Statue being carried by “Pitman Street Italians.” At intervals the statue was set on a table where the ‘Madonna and Child’ statue was adorned with gold chains, pendants, and money was pinned on the silken robes. As the yearly occasion grew, the little girls dressed in white, and boys in Navy each carrying one American and one Italian flag marched in the festival. There were the women dressed in white with the Flag of Mother of Grace referred to as “Confalone Della Madonna Delle Grazie.” The Mother of Sorrows Sodality marched in their black uniforms with black veils. Also, there were the clergy and church officials along with representatives of Penns Grove Borough. The Penns Grove townspeople lined the streets to behold the religious event. The Annual Feast and procession continued for the many years between 1925 and 1970 when it had to be discontinued because the older members were no longer able to participate. The St James Roman Catholic Church took the lead over the annual feast and sponsored a successful yearly carnival event."
Villa in Abruzzo