Sunday, May 04, 2008

May 6th: Colombia - Our Lady of Chiquinquira

There is plenty of information available in English for some of the images of Our Lady I have chosen, for others not so much. Our Lady of Chiquinquira is one of the latter, but I liked the description of this miraculous, self-healing picture, and decided to include it anyway.

Feast Day:
July 9th

(Picture: Hispanic Online)
In the mid-sixteenth century the Spanish painter Alonso de Narvaez created a portrait of the Virgin of the Rosary. He painted in pigments from the soil, herbs and flowers of the region of modern Colombia, and his canvas was a rough 44" * 49" cloth woven by Indians. The image of Mary is about a meter high, and stands about a half moon. She has a small, sweet smile, both her face and the Child's are light colored, and she looks like she's about to take a step. She wears a white toque, a rose-coloured robe, and a sky blue cape. A rosary hangs from the little finger of her left hand, and she holds a sceptre in her right. She holds the Christ Child cradled in her left arm, and looks toward him. Christ has a little bird tied to his thumb, and a small rosary hangs from his left hand. To the sides of Mary stand Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint Andrew the Apostle, the personal patrons of the colonist and monk who commissioned the work Don Antonio de Santana and Andrés Jadraque.

In 1562 the portrait was placed in a rustic chapel. It was exposed to the air, the roof leaked, and soon the damage caused by the humidity and sun completely obscured the image. In 1577 the damaged painting was moved to Chiquinquirá and stored in an unused room. In 1585 Maria Ramos, a pious woman from Seville, cleaned up the little chapel, and hung the faded canvas in it. Though the image was in terrible shape, she loved to sit and contemplate it.

On Friday 26 December 1586 the faded, damaged image was suddenly restored. It's colors were bright, the canvas cleaner, the image clear and seemingly brand new. The healing of the image continued as small holes and tears in the canvas self-sealed. It still has traces of its former damage, the figures seem brighter and clearer from a distance than up close. For 300 years the painting hung unprotected. Thousands of objects were touched against the frail cotton cloth by pilgrims. This rought treatment should have destroyed it, but it healed and survives. Pope Pius VII declared Our Lady of Chiquinquirá patroness of Colombia in 1829, and granted a special liturgy. In 1897 a thick glass plate was placed over it to stop the weather and the excesses of the faithful. The image was canonically crowned in 1919, and in 1927 her sanctuary declared a Basilica. (Patron Saints Index)
There is a little more about Our Lady of Chiquinquira here at Hispanic Online.

In March 2008 Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuala were on the verge of war. The Colombian President Uribe had a Rosary prayed at the Presidential Palace, dedicated to Our Lady of Chiquinquira, Our Lady of Coromoto and Our Lady of Mercy, the patronesses of the three countries, and the crisis was averted. Read this article from the Catholic News Agency.

Here are three pages of stamps with a Marian theme from Colombia, including some with Our Lady of Chiquinquira.



Chiquinquira is in the Boyaca province of Colombia, north of the capital city of Bogota. At Flags of the World you can find the flag and coat of arms of the city.

1 comment:

MaryM said...

These posts have been so amazing, Kathryn. This is my kind of study. We've done some "Mary Around the World" before but this is so complete. This will be a resource for many people for years to come. Thank you for doing it.

PS I love the postage stamp angle, too. We have started getting into stamp collecting. I have some of the Altagracia ones from the Dominican Republic.