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Nuestra Señora de las Peñas





The title 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 sanctuary of Las Peñas Livilcar is the location of the annual celebration of the Virgin of the Rosary of Las Peñas.  But the annual celebration was not always located in this coastal city of Chili.  Legend says that there was a young boy who was a Second Lieutenant and was in charge of organizing the feast to celebrate the Virgin of the Rosary of Las Peñas.  The young Second Lieutenant 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 boy, 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 he left everyone in the city amazed.  But, after the church was all decorated it caught fire and burned down to the ground, including the image of Our Lady.  There were some shepherds that actually witnessed the church burn down as they were arriving for the annual celebration.  While they were approaching 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, there was a white dove that they saw fly to the west, which is believed to be why the celebration was moved to Africa.

There is another legend of Our Lady of Las Peñas that occurred in Humagata, which is a town in Chili. In this legend, the mayor’s wife was ill and the mayor called a healer, hoping that the healer could treat his sick wife and save her life.  Unfortunately, the mayor’s wife died from her sickness and the mayor blamed the healer for not being able to save his wife.  The mayor punished the man by ordering the poor healer to find wood that the mayor could use to set the man on fire for not healing his ill wife.  But, while the healer was searching for firewood by the Livilcar rocks, he saw a white dove that landed beside him on a rock.  This white dove was said to come from Carangas, Bolivia and the man wanted to catch the dove and bring it to the mayor so he could forgive him for not saving his wife.  As he was trying to catch the dove, however, it disappeared in a flash.  When the dove disappeared the healer saw an image of Our Lady of Las Peñas appear in the rock that the dove was 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 was speaking about and he saw that the healer was telling the truth.  The mayor told the Franciscan fathers of Codpa about the image and the fathers decided to chisel the rock so they could put the image in their church.  The fathers did not complete their work before night came and while the curé was sleeping he came down with a horrible headache. The curé woke up in pain and decided that the image was on that rock for a reason, so it needs to be reverenced where it is, 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.

“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.

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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