In 1968, an earthquake in the Belice Valley of western Sicily caused many devastated villages to relocate and start over. Although 60% destroyed, the people of Santa Margherita stayed to rebuild.
Some 40 years later, with town renewal yet progressing, a little miracle of a museum emerged within the remains of the church, “Mother of Graces.” Known now as the Museum of Remembrance, two delicately-sculpted, still-standing walls became half of the reborn structure. Metal and glass walls surround the remaining space, creating a giant “display case.”
Inside, exhibits show the towns as they appeared before and after the earthquake in photographs and newspapers. One photo records, “Che Dio ci assista” (“God helps us”) poignantly scrawled on a wall. In another, villagers seek the intercession of St. Anthony of Padua. This museum preserves the heart and soul of another place and time.