Crypt of the Saints

| January 1, 2013

DSC06882DSC06837DSC06871DSC06900Richard Montalbano – Creator and Caretaker  for a Beautiful Tribute to the Saints in Elmhurst

Over 350 Relics of Saints and 300 statues and icons. That’s what you will find while visiting the Crypt of the Saints under the Adoration Chapel located at Visitation Church in Elmhurst. Richard Montalbano, who I wrote about in the December issue of People & Places, is the creator and curator of the crypt. Over a year in the making, the crypt allows those who truly believe to pray and meditate to a particular patron saint for a cause. Richard explained that St. Rita is one of the most powerful saints and he can attribute several actual miracles to people praying to her.  “The saints know when you are praying to them, but you have to truly believe and have faith,” explained Richard. “However, the saints can only intercede on your behalf, as only the will of God will prevail.”

Richard tells of a story where he himself experienced a miracle through St. Lucy, patron saint of eyes. “I was disposing of some caustic chemicals at my store when it dropped and splashed into my eyes and onto my body. My glasses immediately melted and my eyes were burning. My workers immediately started to wash off my clothes and body and wanted to call an ambulance. I insisted they take to me the chapel instead and I started praying to St. Lucy. My workers told me that on the way to the chapel, although I can’t sing, I began singing Santa Lucia and prayed continually to St. Lucy. When we arrived, I instructed my workers to place the relic of St. Lucy onto my eyes. I felt some tingling and then immediately was able to open my eyes with no ill effects.”

Previously a music room, Father Scott Huggins of Visitation Church gave permission for Richard to use the area for his project.  Although hampered by numerous mishaps that Richard believes was the work of the devil to try and prevent his project from becoming reality, the crypt slowly evolved over the year with the addition of each and every piece. When asked how he came about collecting all the statues and relics, he said, “They were heaven sent and by the grace of God, many of the statues found him because they needed a home.” “Everything here belongs to God. I’m simply the caretaker.” Many of the items Richard had in storage for years, but just needed a space to exhibit them.

There is so much to see and look at and every time you think you’ve looked at everything, you find another statue or relic that catches your eye. The pews were made in the 1800’s and came from a church in Kenosha, Wisconsin. There’s an alter that was built by Loreto Alonzi in the 1930’s that was acquired from a friend and donated. Although in very bad shape, it was restored over several years. There are pictures that were obtained from an old, dilapidated house in Oak Park that although look like oil paintings are actually prints that used an 8 color process for printing which is unheard of in the printing business.  Many of the wooden statutes are hand carved and from Italy. Plus Richard’s business made many of the tables and shelves that the statues grace. He even has a bible in every language printed.

Richard is also trying to resurrect what he called the “Dead Theologians Society.” “Many young people are looking for something good and wholesome in their lives.” Richard conducts tours for confirmation classes that encourage young people to read up and learn about the lives of the saints. Richard is happy to spread the word, but seems to feel the devil again is working against him. Weeks prior to holding one of his classes, things started to happen to him at home that were too incredible to attribute to anything but evil working against him. “My wife doesn’t know yet that I have new classes coming in soon,” Richard said.

Anyone can come and visit the Crypt of the Saints during the times when prayer groups come in three times a week. Private tours are also available by appointment with Richard who is a wealth of information on the saints. He has numerous books on the saints along with holy cards and medals. For further information or to arrange a private tour, contact Richard Montalbano at 708-409-5100.

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Category: Articles, Community News, Local Church News

About the Author ()

Barbara is the publisher of People and Places Newspaper which she started in August of 2011. A lifelong resident of Schiller Park, she always felt it important that residents needed to be kept informed about their communities. Since newspaper coverage for Schiller Park stopped about twenty years ago, she made it a goal to bring a newspaper back to the area. She tries to include all of Leyden Township in her reporting and wants to keep true with the mission of the paper to "inform, educate and entertain."

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  1. publisher says:

    If you wish to visit the Crypt of the Saints, it will be open for viewing on January 20 and January 27th from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm.