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Header-Our Lady of Las Lajas: A Continuous Miracle

 

The merciful predilection of the Mother of God for Latin America is the reward she has given for the heroic faith formed from the Iberian Peninsula during the 800 years’ struggle against the invading Moors and found in the Latin American peoples’ souls in which Divine Providence willed to deposit it.

From Mexico to Tierra del Fuego, no nation has failed to receive special favors from Our Lady. However, her interventions did not occur in just any manner. She presented herself with unheard of magnificence and splendor, making it clear that she came to preside over Latin America from on high.

 

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Our Lady of Las Lajas

 

The History of a Predilection

As an example of this magnificence, consider how the Most Holy Virgin has stamped her image on the imposing cliffs of the Guaitara Canyon, Colombia, thereby becoming Queen of the souls in that region and in all surrounding lands.

In the year 1754, Maria Mueses de Quiñones, an Indian woman from Colombia, was going from her hometown of Potosi to the village of Ipiales when she was caught in a great storm. At a place called Las Lajas (the Rock Slabs), she sought refuge in a grotto. However, she was anxious since there was a popular legend that said the devil lived in the grotto. With trepidation, she entered the darkness of the grotto, invoking the Virgin of the Rosary. Suddenly, she felt someone tapping at her back, as though calling her. Frightened, she fled back into the storm.

A few days later, returning by the same route, she once again reached the cliffs of Las Lajas, carrying on her back her little daughter Rosa, who was a deaf-mute since birth. Being tired and wanting to rest, Maria Mueses de Quiñones sat down to rest timidly on a stone near the grotto. Then the first miracle occurred. Her deaf-mute child suddenly spoke, “Mommy, look at the mestiza who has detached herself from the rock with a little boy in her arms and two little mestizos at her side!” With this exclamation, Rosa slid off her mother’s back to climb up the grotto’s stones. Struck with terror, Maria took her daughter and fled from the mysterious place.Grotto of Our Lady of Las Lajas

There was general bewilderment among Maria’s friends and acquaintances in Potosi when she told them what had happened.
Thirsting for the supernatural, the Indians listened to her, asked her many questions, and commented among themselves about the singular event, but took no further action.

In the meantime, Rosa disappeared, causing her mother great concern. Maria searched to no avail, until she remembered the episode at the grotto, and returned there to look for Rosa. She found her daughter kneeling before a splendid woman and playing affectionately with a child who had come down from his mother’s arms. Knowing she beheld the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Son Jesus, Maria fell to her knees before this beautiful spectacle, and she was no longer afraid.

*     *     *
 

Shortly thereafter, Our Lady performed a spectacular miracle that prompted the news of the marvelous presence to spread throughout lands near the rocky banks of the Guaitara River.

Church of Our Lady of Las LajasUnexpectedly, Rosa sickened and died. Her grieving mother carried her body in her arms to the grotto in order to beg the Virgin for help. Reminding the Virgin of Rosa’s solicitude in bringing her candles and flowers, she begged Our Lady to bring her back to life. In answer to her prayers, the Queen of Heaven and Earth performed the miracle of the child’s resurrection. Maria told her employers in Ipiales about the extraordinary event.

Moved by the news, they went with priests, distinguished persons and many local people to the apparition’s site. It was then that all saw stamped on the rock face a magnificent image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, holding her Infant Son, with Saints Dominic and Francis kneeling at their feet. The Virgin extended a Rosary to Saint Dominic and the Infant a Franciscan cord to Saint Francis.

Today, an enormous quantity of mementos and tokens of thanksgiving attest to the devotion and gratitude of the Colombian people since the time of the apparition.

 

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Historical and Scientific  Aspects of the Image of Las Lajas

An interesting aspect of the image is the presence of Saint Dominic de Guzmán and Saint Francis of Assisi, the founders of the two orders that first evangelized Colombia and to whom Colombians have always had a special devotion.

The image of Our Lady of Las Lajas, as that of Our Lady of Guadalupe, has spanned the centuries without losing its brilliance. In the case of Las Lajas, the Divine Painter used a fade-proof method. After German geologists bored core samples from several spots in the image, they determined there was no paint, no dye, or any other pigment on the surface of the rock; the colors are the colors of the rock itself, and they penetrate into the rock evenly for several feet!

In 1952, Pius XII granted a canonical crowning of Our Lady of Las Lajas, and in 1954, the gothic church erected to house the image was dedicated as a minor basilica, with the presence of the entire Colombian Episcopate.

 

In the Eyes of the Queen, Ariel view of the Shrine and Grotto of Our Lady of Las Lajas
the True and Authentic Latin America

In the course of the two thousand years in which the Church has spread throughout the world, artists have frequently shaped Our Lady’s physical aspect according to the type of women of their time and region. This has happened in paintings, sculpture, stained-glass windows, and other media. The most ancient statues of her attest to this fact. In the remote days of the Church, statues of Mary Most Holy depicted her with a Mediterranean physical aspect. As the Faith spread among the Nordic people, blond and blue-eyed representations of Our Lady appeared.

The modeling of images according to the regional feminine physical aspect is agreeable to Our Lady. This is proved by the fact when she impresses her image on some object in order to perpetuate the memory of an apparition or when she appears to a seer who then later describes her to an artist who will interpret the seer’s description into a painting or sculpture. In Mexico, for example, Our Lady of Guadalupe stamped her image with Mexican physiognomies on Juan Diego’s serape, where she can be seen standing on the moon and obscuring the sun that is behind her. The Aztecs worshiped the sun and the moon as gods, and the sight of this powerful lady overcoming their gods was the catalyst in the Mexican Indians’ conversion. In Colombia, God performed the prodigy of printing Our Lady of Las Lajas on a rock. In view of these two very short examples, who can deny the deeply religious atmosphere characteristic of images painted by the Angels?

As limited as one’s sense of observation may be, one cannot fail to exclaim upon seeing her, “Look how Latin American she is!” Something very essential, a reflection of the qualities and virtues of the Latin American people, is expressed in Our Lady of Las Lajas.

But what does her physical aspect tell us? We find a great personality, the profound and intelligent gaze of a meditating and recollected person. She has an extraordinary stability and solidity, a continuity of will and temperament. Nothing shakes or agitates her. There is no arrogance or ostentation, but rather the dominion of one who is accustomed to having her will obeyed. She could not have a better veil than her long, abundant, beautiful hair. The color and richness of her dress are those of a Queen. She is extremely kind and motherly. How good and safe the Child Jesus feels in her arms! What throne could be more worthy of Him? He is almost at play, with the liberty of a child.

It is curious to note the relationship between Mother and Son. Frequently their images present them gazing at each other, but not in Las Lajas. They are so accustomed to being together that they have no need to look at each other in order to sustain their mutual attention. She directs her eyes toward the Latin American people, heeding their supplications, orienting and commanding them. Meanwhile, the Child Jesus enters the intimacy of those who arrive at the Queen’s feet—a Queen who displays in her gaze a kindness so exalted that she moves us to trust her entirely.

 


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 13, 2019

Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hel...

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November 13

 

Men do not fear a powerful hostile army
as much as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.

St. Bonaventure


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

“No, Monsignor, not that. The Pope sent me here, and here...

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St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Born on July 15, 1850 into a family of Italian farmers near Lombardi, Frances was the youngest of thirteen children. Her parents, Augustine and Stella Cabrini, died in 1870 when she was eighteen, and Frances lived with her sister, Rosa. Though she was always a devout child, Frances became truly close to God as she grew older, and she became renowned for her holiness.

Around the year 1874, Frances was invited by her parish priest to assist at the House of Providence, an orphanage where she remained for six years. In 1877, she and seven of her close friends took their first vows. That same year, the Bishop asked her to found the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. She and her seven followers organized themselves at an old Franciscan friary at Codogno, and there Frances wrote a rule for the sisters to follow. By 1887, the process for the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to become officially recognized by the Church had begun, and houses were founded all over Italy.

In 1889, Pope Leo XIII asked Frances to travel to New York with six of her sisters to work among the Italian immigrants. When she arrived on March 31, she discovered the plan had fallen through: there was no building in which to teach, no orphanage and no home for the hard-traveled nuns to stay. Archbishop Corrigan apologized and suggested the nuns return to Italy, to which Frances replied, “No, Monsignor, not that. The Pope sent me here, and here I must stay,” and within a few weeks, she made progress with her mission, ultimately establishing schools, hospitals, and orphanages.

In 1892, Frances completed her most well-known achievement: the Columbus Hospital in New York. This success led to houses and schools being opened in Brazil, Chile and Europe. By 1907, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart were officially recognized by the Catholic Church. Their small community had grown to over a thousand, and free schools, orphanages and convents had been established in eight countries.

Her body had been failing for six years, but Frances’s death came suddenly. She died in the convent in Chicago on December 22, 1917. She was canonized in 1946.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Centuries ago, in Toledo, Spain, there lived a Cistercian nu...

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A Favor Granted

Centuries ago, in Toledo, Spain, there lived a Cistercian nun called Mary. Being at the point of death, the Blessed Mother appeared to her, and Mary said to her:

"Oh Lady, the favor you do me of visiting me at this hour emboldens me to ask you another favor, namely, that I may die at the same hour that you died and entered into heaven.”

"Yes," answered Mary Most Holy. "I will satisfy your request; you will die at that hour, and you will hear the songs and praises with which the blessed accompanied my entrance into heaven; and now prepare for your death."

When she had said this she disappeared.

Passing by Mary’s cell, other nuns heard her talking to herself, and they thought she must be losing her mind. But she related to them the vision of the Virgin Mary and the promised grace. Soon the entire convent awaited the desired hour.

When Mary knew the hour had arrived, by the striking of the clock, she said:

"Behold, the predicted hour has come; I hear the music of the angels. At this hour my queen ascended into heaven. Rest in peace, for I am going now to see her."

Saying this she expired, while her eyes became bright as stars, and her face glowed with a beautiful color.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

Centuries ago, in Toledo, Spain, there lived a Cistercian nun called Mary. Being at the point of death, the Blessed Mother appeared to her,

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