He then married and had three children.

Salvatore never forgot his roots, in a place which is home to age-old Marian devotions, particularly to the Madonna del Colle.

In 2006, the Marrocco family suffered a great loss when Salvatore’s son, Giuseppe, suffered a brain aneurysm and was told he wouldn’t live.

Recovering from a serious illness is something that Salvatore has always considered a “miracle”.

As he wrote in the newsletter of the Santuario Madonna del Colle:

On September 15, 2006 (the anniversary of the Madonna del Colle), my son Giuseppe, 48, despatch manager at a sanitary products company, suffered a brain aneurysm at 10:30 pm Melbourne time.

He was rushed to hospital and operated on in an attempt to save his life.

Desperate for my son to live, I asked my wife if we had an image of the Madonna del Colle.

I found the prayer card of the Madonna and I called on her to help my son overcome his illness.

Seven days after the operation, the surgeon gathered my family to tell us that his life support would be turned off and he’d pass away within a few hours.

The Madonna del Colle was constantly on my mind.

Giuseppe was transferred to another ward, waiting to die, and had the picture of the Madonna on his pillow.

He remained in the ward for four days, and didn’t pass away.

In the meantime, I met with the specialist who’d operated on my son and he told me that Giuseppe had had a “big, big, big surprise”, (he meant “a miracle”) and he couldn’t explain my son’s survival.

Giuseppe was then transported to another centre for the terminally ill.

In Australia, health care workers are legally required to explain to patients what treatments they would be undergoing.

“Joe, we gonna move you,” they said as they moved him from the ambulance to the new centre.

My son stuttered a response: “M-m-m-ove you.”

The nurse immediately called the doctor and told him my son had spoken.

The doctors then told us what had happened.

Despite this event, doctors were sceptical he’d make a full recovery.

They soon began therapy.

The picture of the Madonna del Colle was always by Giuseppe’s bedside.

I took the prayer card and placed it on my son’s lips, then said to him: “Kiss her; she’s your only hope.”

Giuseppe delicately kissed the picture.

My son was then taken to a clinic to receive the appropriate care; then spent three months in a rehabilitation unit.

After one more transfer, he was able to move around in a wheelchair, with the assistance of medical staff.

Two months later, he took his first steps and from there, he began to slowly recover.

On June 22, 2007, he was released and started receiving medical care from home.

He went on to make a full recovery and now works for the same company he was with before the accident.

My family thanks the Madonna del Colle for hearing our prayers and performing this miracle.

In light of this, my family has decided to return to Italy this year to visit the Santuario della Madonna del Colle.