What did I see on display?

When I was in Rome I saw lots and lots of silver hearts on the walls in some churches - with silver flames coming out of the top. What were they, what were their purpose and why so many ? They were all together in the churches where I saw them. Sorry to be so vague but because I don’t know what they are I have no frame of reference to better describe them so does anyone know what I am taking about please ? Any photos ?


Does this help you?

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Maybe but if only I could see a picture to know for sure. Thank you for finding that for me, it’s a great start :slight_smile:

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Some churches or a particular church? Sts. Vincent and Anastasius of Trevi parish (near the famed Trevi Fountain) contains the hearts of several popes in silver reliquaries. I couldn’t find a decent up-close photo via Google, though.


They’re votive offerings, also called ex voto, or in USA, milagros. They’re given usually in thanks for a prayer intention.


I have seen those on Pinterest. I love how they look but never knew what they were meant to be. Thanks, @Tis_Bearself for that explanation.

Never heard of it, so had to look it up. I found this site:- https://www.piececollectors.com/journal/2019/1/11/mexican-milagro-miracle-charms

Anyone know if the explanations are correct?

ETA - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milagro_(votive) <- wiki has an interesting article

I confirm what previously said by others. They are called ex-voto and very common in Italy. Basically public thanksgiving display of a prayer that was answered; they are golden or silver. Sometimes ex-voto are in a form of a painting describing what is the thanksgiving about or, if the answered prayers was the birth of a child, even a pink or blue ribbon.
Here from the web some examples

image image


So beautiful!

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I’m not Latino so I only found out about them going to shrines where people leave them. I mostly just see hearts and body parts, which I always assume are for some health condition related to the body part.

At Fatima you can buy from the shops around the shrine, candles in the shape of body parts to burn at the shrine, so sort of like wax milagros. You can get legs, lungs etc. I saw one lady doing the penance walk on her knees clutching a big wax leg to her chest that I presume she was going to put in the candle area and light after Mass.

Oh, wow. I’ve never been to Fatima or any Holy Site, as am pretty much a home body. Thank you Tis for sharing your own experience and what you know of them. I find them interesting.

This sounds really cool, I’ll have to put that on my list for a hopeful future trip.

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