A reading about the Patron Saint of Cyclists, Madonna del Ghisallo

Medieval legend says that Count Ghisallo was traveling near the village of Magréglio when he was attacked by highway bandits. Spotting an image of the Virgin Mary in a roadside shrine, he broke away from his attackers and ran to it. There he took refuge, pled for Our Lady’s protection – and was miraculously saved from the robbers.

As the story spread, the Madonna del Ghisallo became known as patroness of local travelers.  In more recent times, cyclists would often stop to rest and pray at the chapel, which is a local landmark, and is at the top of a steep hill. After World War II, Father Ermelindo Vigano, pastor at the shrine, proposed Ghisallo as the site of an Italian shrine for bicyclists, and she was given as patroness of cyclists on 13 October 1949.  The chapel has become equal part religious shrine, part cycling museum, with artifacts and photos from the sport.  There is an eternal flame that burns there in memory of the cyclists who are no longer with us, and services each Christmas Eve and the Feast of All Souls commemorate them.