Our Lady of Chiquinquirá

Two titles for the price of one!

As the UD Mary page notes, Colombia’s patroness is Our Lady of Chiquinquirá. This refers to the story of a Spanish painter’s image of Mary as Our Lady of the Rosary, holding the baby Jesus and flanked by Ss. Anthony of Padua and Andrew the apostle. The painting was kept in the town of Chiquinquirá in the worst conditions. One day, a woman saw its delapidated condition and wished that it looked as it once had.

And it fixed itself. And it continued to be in good condition despite all the loving use and bad storage it received for 300 years. (For the last hundred years or so, it’s been behind glass.) Her feast, celebrated in Colombia, is July 9th.

But in Venezuela on Lake Maracaibo, the people of the province of Zulia also honor Our Lady of Chiquinquirá. This title comes from a miraculous wooden statue of Mary, carved with Indian features and skin, and found floating in the lake. (Huge numbers of miraculous statues of Mary are found floating down rivers or on the ocean. Given the huge numbers of galleons that didn’t make it, this isn’t hard to understand along seacoasts.)

According to legend, the old woman who found the statue (while doing her wash on Nov. 13, 1749) at first thought it was just a little board, and then thought she saw a picture on it. She left to do errands, and when she came back found a crowd crying out, “Miracle! Miracle!” (Milagro! Milagro!) The piece of wood was glowing and floating in the air, and a picture of Our Lady of the Rosary (similar to the one in Colombia) had appeared upon it. So the street on which the woman lived is now called El Milagro.

This version of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá is affectionately known as “La Chinita”, for short. The La Chinita Festival (La Feria de la Chinita) is a very big deal, and the airport is even named for her!

Lovely photos of the Basilica and the image being lowered and taken out for the festival.

Chiquinquirá Delgado, co-host of Univision’s Battle of the Sexes show, was born in this area. According to this interview, the doctors had feared that she would be born deformed. So her mother told Our Lady that if her baby were saved she’d name the child Chiquinquirá. (Chiqui for short.)

This is fun! I think we’ll have to look at some more Marian stuff!


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