Southern Italian Craft of Benedicaria, which means "Way of Blessing," is a relatively new term for a number of
loosely-related family-based folk traditions found throughout Italy, most notably in southern Italy and Sicily. Though referred to by
Benedicaria is also known as Benedicazione (Blessing) in the
Cattolichese dialect, Benedica (blessed) in Catanian, and Fa Lu
Santuccio (lit. "do a little holy thing") in Campania.
Unlike practitioners of Stregheria and some practitioners of
Stregoneria, practitioners of Benedicaria consider themselves
to be devout Catholics, and the practices of Benedicaria are
inextricably linked with Italian popular devotions found in
Basically, It is a combination of the Roman Catholic magical
rituals of the Southern Italian and Sicilian Contadinas (peasantry)
based on ancient traditions. Removing the effects of the evil eye
from yourself and others, Novenas to the Saints, the Holy Rosary,
Benedicaria altars, Incense, Invoking Saint Michael the Archangel,
making Saint Michael's Oil, Everyday Blessings, invoking Saint
Anthony to help you find the perfect mate, Spiritual Cleansing with eggs, Baths to bring love into your life, Baths to bring money ,
removing ghosts from the home, reading the Holy Cards, The Sicilian Cards and learning their hidden meanings, Pendulum, Stories and
Wisdom passed down from Benedettos.
History of the term
Amongst Italian communities, there is generally no word for "Benedicaria," and often it is simply called "the things we do and have
always done." However, the word for a practitioner is Benedetto (for a male) or Benedetta (for a female), both of which mean "Blessed
One." In Giuseppe Tornatore's 2000 motion picture Malèna, however, there is a scene where the older ladies of the village are
exorcising Renato with Holy Cards and praying Rosaries. The boy's father sees this and says "Va fanculo cu la benedicaria!" ("Go fuck
off with the Benedicaria!")
In the English language, the word Benedicaria itself first appeared in writing thanks to Sicilian-American author Vito Quattrocchi, who
self-published his book Sicilian Benedicaria: Magical Catholicism. Quattrocchi had already been a published author, with The Sicilian
Blade (1993, Desert Publications) under his belt. However, this move towards self-publication on Quattrocchi's part has proven to be
successful, and now the word Benedicaria is in common use, at least throughout the internet, as a way of identifying these traditions
of spiritual practices.
Along with Quattrocchi, another name associated with Benedicaria is that of Agostino Taumaturgo, a Roman Catholic priest who
maintains Quattrocchi's website and whose book, The Things We Do: Ways of the Holy Benedetta was published in 2007.
Traditions of Benedicaria
Benedicaria is catch-all term for a number of family-based spiritual traditions with a great deal of flexibility, and as a result, the
practices found in Benedicaria may vary from family to family and from individual to individual. Amongst the more commonly-known
practices are the use of olive oil and/or eggs as a cure for the Malocchio or Evil Eye, the use of candles, the Rosary, herbs, and
Novenas in honor of the various Saints. According to the information given at the Italian Benedicaria website, most of the prayers
used in Benedicaria are taken directly from Catholic prayerbooks.
Another common practice is the use of eggs as a form of cleansing or to remove the Evil Eye. In this exercise, the egg is washed, dried,
and then covered in Holy Water while the practitioner prays over it, saying an Apostles' Creed, an Our Father, and three Hail Mary's.
The egg is then rolled over the alleged victim's body in a loosely prescribed pattern, paying especial attention to any area which may
feel the most pain; the egg is believed to absorb any negative energy. After doing this with the egg for fifteen minutes, the egg is
broken by throwing it in the toilet and flushing the remains or throwing it out at a crossroads.
This is very similar to a practice found in Mexican Curanderismo and Filipino Pagtatawas which has the same objective, and it is also
an example of a Catholic Sacramental being combined with a possible pre-Christian practice, with the latter being subordinated to
the belief-system of Catholicism.
Relationship with Stregheria and Stregoneria
There is much discussion on the subject of what exactly is entailed by the terms Benedicaria, Stregoneria, and Stregheria. However,
the one thing upon which all parties agree is that these three things are all different from one another as the two are entirely
separate and unrelated practices. The relationship between Stregoneria and Benedicaria is more confounded entirely since in their
purest forms the two are completely distinct. However, most practitioners make use of elements from both traditions, and many
practitioners were raised with or taught elements of both traditions, so much so that over the course of centuries, it has become
impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. In many cases, even the practitioner herself is not certain as to the
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