Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May 7th: Costa Rica - Our Lady of the Angels

Feast Day: August 2nd

A shrine of Our Lady of the Angels in Costa Rica, near the foot of Mount Irazú. In 1635 a young Negro girl found a small black stone statue of Our Lady and the Holy Child in the woods near Cartago. She took it home with her but it returned by itself to where she had found it. After several futile attempts to keep it, she took the statue to the village priest, who tried hiding it, but to no avail. It was always found back in the woods. The Negroes nearby built a little chapel to house their treasured Mother and Child on the spot that she herself had chosen to stay. In time it became a famous place of pilgrimage for all of Costa Rica. The image of the black Madonna, gaily dressed with Jesus, was solemnly crowned in 1927. (Fr. John A. Hardon)

For more detail, see Hispanic Online. The statue itself is only three inches tall, and all except the faces of Our Lady and Jesus are hidden by the magnificent reliquary in which it is kept.

Only rarely is there a children's book available for one of the less widely known titles of Our Lady. This is one of the fortunate few.
Juanita and Our Lady of the Angels by Elizabeth Loch tells the story of how Juana Pereira found the statue.

You can find out more about Cartago, Costa Rica, the city of Our Lady of the Angels from this Wikipedia article. This site has a selection of pictures from Costa Rica to use as wallpaper for your desktop, including a couple of the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles.

The Vincentian Our Lady of Angels Association promotes devotion to Our Lady of Angels.

Prayer to Our Lady, Queen of Angels
August Queen of Heaven, sovereign Mistress of the Angels, who didst receive from the beginning the mission and the power to crush the serpent’s head, we beseech thee to send thy holy angels, that under thy command and by thy power, they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks, and drive them hence into the abyss of woe.

Most holy Mother, send thy angels to defend us and to drive the cruel enemy from us.

All ye holy angels and archangel, help and defend us. Amen.

O good and tender Mother! Thou shalt ever be our Love and our Hope.

Holy Angels and Archangels, keep and defend us. Amen

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