The hill of Bonaria is sited on the south-eastern part of the town of Cagliari.
In 1323 King Alfonso of Aragona placed his camp there in order to conquer the town and built a fortified castle and church.
In 1325 the King donated the church to the friars of The Order of Our Lady of Mercy. They built a convent and still live there nowadays.
The Order of Our Lady of Mercy was founded in Barcelona by St. Peter Nolasco to free the Christian slaves from the Moors. Many slaves were redeemed by the monks of Bonaria.
In 1370 a sailing-ship from Spain was caught in the middle of a violent storm. The whole shipment, including a heavy case, was thrown into the sea. As soon as the case touched the water, the storm suddenly calmed down miraculously.
The case was found at the port of Bonaria and opened by the friars: it contained a wonderful statue of the Madonna holding the infant Jesus in her left hand and a lit candle in her right one.
Soon, devotion for the Madonna spread both in the island and in the world, particularly among sailors who invoked her to be their protector.
The “conquistadores” gave the name Buenos Aires to the capital of Argentina as a sign of their devotion to the Madonna of Bonaria which, in fact, means “good air”.
On September 13th 1907, St. Pious X proclaimed the Madonna of Bonaria as the Highest Patron of Sardinia.
Pope Paul VI honored with his presence the celebration of her 6th centenary, the 24th of April 1970.
Pope John Paul II came to Bonaria as a pilgrim on October 20th, 1985.
On Sept, 7th 2008, Pope Benedict XVI came to honour Our Lady of Bonaria for the celebrations of the first Centenary of her proclamation as the highest Patron of Sardinia.
For more detailed information about the shrine you may purchase various publications and souvenirs in the rooms of the cloister or by contacting:
Santuario di Bonaria – Piazza Bonaria, 2
– 09125 Cagliari
Tel. 070301747 – Fax 070303182