Nuestra Señora de las Peñas





Nuestra Señora de Las Peñas is also known as Our Lady of Hardships; Virgin of Las Peñas; Virgin of Las Peñas Livilcar; Our Lady of Penalties; and Our Lady of Sorrows.  The annual celebration of this Virgin is held at her sanctuary of Las Peñas in Livílcar, Chile, but she is important to the Bolivian people as well, having performed many miracles for them.


Legend says that there was a young boy who was a Second Lieutenant and oversaw the organizing of the feast to celebrate the Virgin of the Rosary of Las Peñas.  The young man was very poor and at the time the celebration was quite modest.  There was a wealthy man who lived in the same area as the poor man, and he wanted to make the celebration more of a holiday and feast so it would be as memorable and special as it could be.  This rich man decorated the church with flowers and candles and everyone was very pleased by this.  However, the Church caught fire overnight, burning to the ground and taking the image of Our Lady with it.


There were some shepherds that actually witnessed the church collapsing as they arrived for the annual celebration.  On approach, they met a mysterious lady who told the shepherds that she was not attending the celebration because she was traveling to a different place that appreciated her more.  As she was speaking to the shepherds, they saw a white dove fly to the west, which is believed to be why the celebration was moved to Arica, Chile.


There is another legend of Our Lady of Las Peñas that originated in Humagata, Chile. This legend recounts that the mayor’s wife was ill and the mayor called a healer, hoping that the healer could save her life.  Unfortunately, the mayor’s wife died from her illness and the mayor blamed the healer.  The mayor punished the man by ordering him to gather wood that the mayor would use to set the man on fire.  But, while the healer was searching for firewood by the Livílcar rocks, he saw that a white dove landed on a rock that was beside him.  This white dove had flown in from the direction of Carangas, Bolivia, and the man wanted to catch the dove and bring it to the mayor as a sign that he should forgive him for not saving his wife.


As he was trying to catch the dove, however, it disappeared suddenly.  When the dove disappeared the healer saw an image of Our Lady of Las Peñas appear on the rock that the dove had been on seconds before.  This scared the healer and he went back to tell the mayor what he had just seen.  The mayor did not initially believe what the healer was saying so he went back to the rock that the healer pointed out and he saw that the healer was telling the truth.  The mayor told the Franciscan friars of Codpa about the image, and they decided to chisel it from the rock so they could put the image in their church.


The friars did not finish the job before nightfall and while they slept that night the abbot developed a horrible headache. Waking up in pain, the abbot decided that the image was on that rock for a reason, so it needed to be venerated where it was and not in the church. The image is of a beautiful woman and is about two feet tall.  People say that this image of Our Lady used to be the size of a dove and that it grows a centimeter every year. There are annual celebrations to celebrate Our Lady of Las Peñas on the first Sunday of October and on December 8th.



Research by Abigail A. Schaefer

Popular Devotions

• Annual celebration of the Virgin of the Rosary of Las Peñas originated in Bolivia

• Antipolo is the site of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage

“Mary in our life” by Nicholas J. Santoro.   Atlas of the names and titles of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and their place in Marian devotion.  From the University of Dayton Marian Library.

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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