In Italy the confraternities were born towards the end of the XII century. From the beginning they were favored and supported not only by the Church, but also by the community. The purpose of the confraternities was to promote the Christian life and charity towards others. The confraternities had at their disposal, depending on their importance, an altar, a chapel, a church or oratory in which to carry out religious practices and a place to meet.
In Artena (ex Montefortino) the confraternity was born on 2 July 1715 when some devout people began to take an interest and to promote the cult of the Madonna delle Grazie. In 1731 the first procession took place, which still today attracts many faithful. This small group of people grew in a short time and thus a confraternity was formed, which turned to the Archconfraternity of the Ss.mo Nome di Maria, located in Rome, to obtain a formal association. On 23 October 1790 the Roman Archconfraternity recognized the confraternity of Artena, which received all the company insignia: dress, coat of arms, banner, Crucifix and benefited from all the indulgences granted to the Archconfraternity.
Initially the Confraternity did not have real statutes, but it was regulated according to tradition. Only on July 30, 1856, the Confraternity had a regulation, issued by Mons. Luigi Ricci, bishop of Segni.
The Confraternity or Pia Associazione della Madonna delle Grazie was active until the end of the nineteenth century, then it lost, like the other confraternities, its assets and was suppressed. However, the brothers continued to participate in all processions and functions in honor of the Madonna delle Grazie. Only in 1932, thanks to the interest of mons. Angelo Gentilezza, then archpriest of S. Maria delle Letizie, was the new “Associazione dei fratelli della Madonna delle Grazie” established.
At the request of the new leaders of the association, mons. Alfonso M. De Sanctis, bishop of Segni, on 1 December 1932 issued the new statute of “Fratelli della Madonna delle Grazie”. Over time, the statute of the confraternity has undergone various changes. The current one was promulgated by mons. Vincenzo Apicella, bishop of Velletri-Segni, on 03 June 2021.
To date, the confraternity is made up of men and women, where everyone has their own task. The men are also called “spallatori”, since during the procession they have the task of carrying the Holy Image on their shoulders. Brothers and sisters are invited to solemnly celebrate and organize the celebrations in honor of Our Lady of Grace in the month of May and on the day of the Ss.mo Nome di Maria (12 September).
The purpose of the Confraternity is to promote and cultivate devotion and worship towards the Madonna delle Grazie, organize and participate in religious and social activities, and carry on a tradition that is dear to all those who originate in Artena.