Full of thanks: The story of Sermig with Maria

Publish date 28-08-2023

by Guido Morganti

Born in 1964, our group up until 1983 never had a fixed location, from time to time we were guests of the bishop, other groups or religious bodies. In 1979, the intuition of having an office in the heart of Turin took shape: the military arsenal in Piazza Borgo Dora, a stone's throw from Porta Palazzo. Initiating negotiations with the Ministry of Defense and with the Municipality of Turin, which was to act as our go-between, we entrusted "this impossible dream" to Our Lady who satisfied us and has accompanied us every day since then. The Madonna has been at home in Borgo Dora since at least 1852: that year, on April 26, a fire broke out in a warehouse in the powder magazine of the Arsenale di Artiglieria. 24 tons of powder exploded, there were 24 dead, many sheds and neighboring houses were destroyed and nearby Cottolengo was also damaged by the explosion. The quartermaster Paolo Sacchi, risking his own life, tried to avert the explosion of the main warehouse (another 44 tons of powder), throwing himself into the flames in the name of the Madonna Consolata. He managed to stop it in time. Having escaped the danger, Paolo Sacchi went with the workers of the arsenal and the population in procession to the sanctuary of the Consolata as a sign of thanksgiving. On August 2, 1983, having obtained the first building of the now abandoned former arms factory, we began the reconstruction, immediately thinking of a church where we could gather to pray, convinced that the work was God's and that he should have first place.

Father Costantino Ruggeri helped us create a cenacle on the first floor of the large renovated pavilion, which with its grandeur and its arches reminded us so much of an open-air cathedral. To welcome us, at the entrance to the cenacle, we wanted to place a statue of the Madonna. We found her in 1986 in Ortisei: a queen with a very sweet face, the work of the sculptor Peppi Rifesser. Mary, mother of men, this is the title we have given her, she has collected the prayers, the sufferings, the pains of all of us until the arrival of the icon of the Mother of the Three Hands. This Mother came from Russia and represented the desire for an in-depth encounter of the two Christian Churches, Eastern and Western. Now it is located in the church dedicated to "Maria Madre dei Giovani" inside the Arsenale della Pace, thus becoming a point of reference and the center of spiritual convergence for the thousands of people, young people and adults, who feel that she is a mother, a friend , teacher in the faith, inspiration of charity, their daily help. A copy of this icon is also present in the Arsenals of São Paulo in Brazil and Madaba in Jordan and every year on August 2nd and December 31st it is carried on the shoulders of young people in the Peace March

Guido Morganti

NP Maggio 2023

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