Chapel formerly of Mater Gratiae, or of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The last chapel on the right side is that of the Mater Gratiae. The reference is to the panel that today dominates the marble shrine of the high altar, but which, until 1932, was housed, as befits holy shrine images, in a side chapel near the apse.

The title is written above the archway: the reference is to Mary mother of Christ, who dispenses divine Grace. Theologically, therefore, above the health of the body or other demands, the Christian should be concerned with obtaining Grace, i.e. getting in tune with God. The space is clearly related to the renovation carried out in 1856, in its shapes and colours, while the 17th-century altar survives, with its antependium inlaid in polychrome marble framed by two beautiful statuettes of saints (or religious, probably those who commissioned the work). With the icon of Mater Gratiae removed from the wall, a painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, made by the Mantuan painter Giovanni Minuti in 1941, now appears within the sumptuous frame.

The roof is a lowered dome, decorated with the monogram of the Virgin. No longer visible is the tomb of several members of the Gonzaga family (Charles of Rethel with his wife Maria and son Charles II Gonzaga Nevers). Hundreds and hundreds of ex-votos made by the votive offerings to give thanks to the Virgin are linked to the Mater Gratiae table; at one time, however, there were more and more artistically refined ones.

Think of the gold medals of the Popes, princely jewellery, the crown adorned with gems left by Emperor Charles V. A significant part of the ex-votos is collected in the rooms adjoining the chapel.

For further information click here: Sanctuary bibliography and insights

Santuario delle Grazie
Pick a flower for the Blessed Virgin Mary of Grace