Although the city of Agrigento has its own patron saint – San Gerlando, a Norman saint –, the citizens of Agrigento love San Calogero more than any other saint. He was a hermit who probably came to Sicily from Africa or the Middle East.
The celebrations in his honor last one week, from the first to the second Sunday in July. The brethren carry in procession his statue, and people crowd around it.
When there was leprosy, San Calogero took care of the lepers. At that time, people threw loaves of bread at him from the balconies and terraces of the houses, so as not to come into contact with him and run the risk of being infected. The loaves of bread were for him and for the lepers too. Even today, during the procession, people throw loaves of bread at the statue of the saint.
While we were spending a three-day vacation in San Leone, near Agrigento, I had an irresistible urge to visit the church of San Calogero. We went there, sat on a pew, and meditated for a little while. I felt an atmosphere of sacredness and had the feeling that he was really a great saint, who fully deserves to be loved by his people: the citizens of Agrigento!
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)
– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)
– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)
– Travels of the Mind (English edition)
– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)