La Virgen del Valle de Catamarca

Miranda, A. S. (2000). Our Lady of the Valley: Popular story. San Fernando del Valle de

Catamarca: Printing Dept. of the National University of Catamarca.




Sometime during the years of 1619 and 1620, the image of the Virgin was found in a cave by a Christian man. The man, a servant of Don Manuel de Salazar, was doing shepherd work when he noticed a group of young girls carrying flowers and other objects. Although he was curious about what he just observed, he ignored it and went about his business. A few days later, his curiosity got the best of him. He followed the same path the girls had been on in the days past. Eventually, he came upon an image of the Virgin, except she had dark complexion and her hands were together as if she were praying. The man returned back to his master to tell him what he saw. Don Manuel de Salazar, the man’s master, became worried the image of the Virgin would be used as an item of idolatry.

Eventually, Don Manuel de Salazar decided to remove the image of the Virgin from the cave. He built a shelf within his home in which he and his relatives would venerate from time to time with flowers and candles. However, Salazar reported the image of the Virgin to have “run away” numerous times- mysteriously appearing back in the cave where she was once found. Although he never found evidence of a burglar, he continued to believe someone continued to take the image and place her in the cave.

There are few existing documents that exist which concern the Virgin Mary of the Valley. Those existing note the image as a carved figure with clay pieces, with the eyes, eyebrows, and skin carefully painted. There is, however, no information of how the Virgin image arrived at the cave. Following the discovery of the image, numerous temples were built in its honor, and in 1860 building for the Basilica Cathedral began. Numerous cures with the Virgen del Valle have occurred. For example, one of the most well known was the Miracle of the Jug. Dying of thirst, a man came to the image and begged for his health and in return he would participate in a pilgrimage. Suddenly, he began to regain his health, and soon after he began on his journey to complete his promise of a pilgrimage. Yet soon enough, again, on the way, he began to thirst. He looked to the sky and asked for the Virgin’s blessing. Suddenly, a silver jug appeared within his pocket, and he was again healed of his thirst.

Miranda, A. S. (2000). Our Lady of the Valley: Popular story. San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca: Printing Dept. of the National University of Catamarca.

Rossi, J., & Serra, L. A. (2000). María en su Valle de Luz. Argentina: Polo Rossi Casa Ed.

Links to Texts: ​

Researched by Abigail M. Sturgill

Popular Devotions

Each year on December 8th, processions are held in the city of Catamarca and attracts thousands of Christians making pilgrimages. One of the more notable things that occurs during this procession is a participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


Bendiceme, Madre y ruega por mi sin cesar

Aleja de mi, hoy y siempre el pecado

Si tropiezo, tiende tu mano hacia mi

Si cien veces caigo, cien veces levàntam

Si yo te olvido, tú no te olvides de mi

Si me dejas Madre, ¿Què sera de mi?

En los peligros del mundo asísteme.

Quiero vivir y morir bajo tu manto.

Quiero que mi vida te haga sonreir.

Mirame con compasiòn, no me dejes Madre Mía

Y, al fin, sal a recibirme y llévame junto a ti.

Tu bendiciòn me acompañe hoy y siempre.

Amen: Aleluya

Hail Mary

Dios te salve, María.

Llena eres de gracia: El Señor es contigo.

Bendita tú eres entre todas las mujeres.

Y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre: Jesús.

Santa María, Madre de Dios,

ruega por nosotros pecadores,

ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte.


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of the Marian Library at the

University of Dayton.