Holy Father Pope Francis initiates the Marian month of May by making his first pilgrimage to the popular Roman shrine, Our Lady of Divine Love (Divino Amore). After reciting the rosary before the medieval icon of the Madonna and Child, the Pontiff blessed the tomb of Servant of God, Father Umberto Terenzi, the first rector of the Divino Amore parish and the founder of two religious orders.
Pope Francis also greeted residents of both the Divino Amore retirement home and the Family House of Mater Divini Amoris, which is run by the Congregation of the Sons of Divine Love and provides shelter for children and infants.
Our Lady of Divine Love shrine originated with a medieval fresco which adorned one of the towers of a 13th-century gatehouse called Castel di Leva. The shrine became doubly significant for Romans during the Second World War when Pope Pius XII, joined by several thousand citizens, prayed before the fresco for the protection of Rome during the final battle for the city in 1944 which led to its liberation from German occupation.