Monsignor Montini’s deep admiration of and love for Pius XII can be found in the biography, Paul VI, The First Modern Pope, where the work he did in the Office of Secretary of State is detailed. It is fitting to remember their presence at the bomb site. Pius XII’s parents were buried near the site of the bombing.
From Peter Hebblethwaite’s biography, Paul VI, The First Modern Pope, page 184:
In July the British and Americans invaded Sicily. Part of the plan was the 500 American bombers should attack the Rome railway station and marshalling yards. The sirens sounded in Rome at 11 a.m. on 19 July. Montini (the future Pope Paul VI)…watched the attack from the Palazzo Santa Marta…Five hundred people were killed–one per bomber–and many more wounded, while San Lorenzo–one of the seven basilicas of Rome–lost its roof and a portico. Casualties were particularly high because crowded trams happened to be parked outside San Lorenzo as the raid came.
Pius went to the shattered basilica of San Lorenzo that same afternoon, accompanied by Montini, and stayed for two and a half hours. It was the first time the Pope had been outside the Vatican since…1940. He knelt among the ruins and recited the psalm De Profundis (Out of the Depths, O Lord). A crowd gathered to pray with him. He comforted the wounded and tried to console the bereaved. His white soutane was soon flecked with blood. The Pope had failed to save Rome from the bombs but he was closer to the people of Rome than ever Mussolini had been.
We remember today the compassion and love of Pope Pius XII and Giovanni Montini for the people of Rome in 1942 on this date.
A statue of Pope Pius XII now stands near St. Lawrence Outside the Walls at the site of his appearance that day.
This artifact is a portrait of Pius XII giving a blessing in a common pose of his and containing the contents of the blessing with his signature at the bottom of the portrait.
The blessing is in English and is addressed to Miss Lizzie M. Ghio. You may enlarge the picture to view the contents of the blessing and to see more clearly the embellishments to the photo, which are the four main basilicas in Rome as well as Saints Peter and Paul.
The item is in perfect condition attesting to its importance to its owner.