“Nutella” Billionaire’s Devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes

“Ferrero’s policies are bound up with the fervent Catholicism of its owner. He has a special devotion to the Madonna of Lourdes . . . executives say he visits her shrine at least once a year and that every Ferrero plant and office in the world has a statue of the Madonna.” – The Guardian

The Italian entrepreneur and billionaire Michelle Ferrero, who had a net worth ofnutellaferrero.0.0 26.7 billion dollars, and was considered the richest man in Italy, attributed much of his success to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, particularly the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes.

As the Guardian explained, Ferrero visited the Lourdes shrine on pilgrimage each year and had a statue of Our Lady placed at every office and plant worldwide where his company resided. Furthermore, he often took his employees to the sacred shrine. According to Aleteia, at the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of his company, which bears his family name, Ferrero said: “The success of Ferrero we owe to Our Lady of Lourdes; without her we can do little.”

Moreover, according to published stories in both the Guardian and Aleteia, the Ferrero company’s chocolates, specifically the Ferrero “Rocher”—their shape and name—are said to be inspired by the rocky grotto of Lourdes, called the Rocher de Massabielle. Here is a fascinating comparison of images:

Ferrero Rocher

Ferrero Rocher, from candywarehouse.com


Rocher de Massabielle (Lourdes Grotto)

Ferrero died on Valentine’s Day last year, marking almost a year since his passage into eternity. Quite appropriately he passed away on a day when millions around the world would be indulging in his chocolates. Zelda Caldwell of Aleteia explains in her profile of Ferrero: “He was a man endowed with a strong faith who spent his life away from the spotlight and the tabloids. Each year he went on pilgrimage to Lourdes, taking his top manager. He also organized a visit to the French shrine for his employees.”

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