A girl of eight years, a native of Molfetta, named Maria Petruni, lived in Lecce at the orphanage for the deaf run by the Little Salesian Sisters. The chapel of the Institute is dedicated to the Virgin of Pompei. The girl, a deaf-mute, suddenly felt a strong pain in her right knee. The doctors had to recognize one of the worst manifestations of tubercular adenitis, the so called white tumor. she was operated, but to no avail, indeed she lost the use of that joint. The doctors debated whether to amputate the leg itself. A nun,she deaf and dumb as well, persuaded the girl to turn to prayer to the miraculous Virgin of Pompei. The girl said she had already prayed, but complained: "This Lady is hard headed: She does not want to heal me.”
It was May 24th 1889, the sad girl, with crutches beside her, was watching her companions who were playing and looked cheerful. The deaf and dumb sister was standing next to door, driven by great faith, took the crutches, threw them in the air and said to the little Maria: "Walk, Our Lady of Pompei will make you walk." The child immediately felt a new strength flowing to her limbs; She stretched her legs and began moving and running. She was totally healed, as a matter of fact she was able to ascend a long staircase quickly. The illness was gone. The community rejoiced, exploding with joy. The fact was published in the journal of Pompei (October 1889) with the report of the treating physician, Dr. Fiocca of Lecce, and with a number of other witnesses.