Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Maipu

On display in the Marian Library




In 1785 Don Martin de Lecuna ordered that an image of Our Lady of Carmel be sculpted by a sculptor in Quito. Since then this sculpture has signified the devotion and worship for the struggle and fight for independence of the Chilean nation. It is said, “On December 5, 1811, Generals José Miguel Carrera and Bernardo O'Higgins asked the Vicar of Santiago de Chile for a "Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving" for success in the struggle for independence.” (udayton lib, IMRI). On January 5th, 1817 General José Miguel Carrera put his baton in the right hand of the statue and named her “Patroness of the Army of the Andes”. Nuestra Senora del Carmel de Maipu on the eve of the battle of Chabuco, General Bernardo O'Higgins proclaims she be a General of Chilean Armed Forces. In 1818 we see the Spanish forces advancing and the people of Maipu crowd into the cathedral to place their prayers and wishes at the feet of Our Lady of Carmen. The people promised that they would raise a church in the spot where independence was won, to worship and praise Nuestra Senora del Carmel de Maipu. “In the very same place where the battle is waged and victory is won, a sanctuary will be raised to the Virgin of Carmel, Patroness and General of the Chilean armed forces, and the same magistrates who make this vow will lay the foundation in the very same site of her mercy, which will be that of her glory.” (udayton lib, IMRI). On April 5th, 1818 in the battle of Maipu, General San Martin asked his soldiers to cry out with him, “Our Patroness, the most Blessed Virgin of Carmel, will give us victory, and right here we will build the church we promised her to commemorate this triumph.” (udayton lib, IMRI). By the end of the year the first stone was being laid for the creation of the sanctuary in Maipu. The shrine wasn’t finished until 1892 and since then their has been multiple renovations done and the creation of a new church. The church that stands there today was completed in October, 1974. In 1923, at the request of the Chilean Bishops, the Holy See names Virgin of Carmel, “principal patroness of all Chileans”, which regards all Chileans not just the Army and Naval forces. Nuestra Senora del Carmel de Maipu is celebrated on July 16th. This celebration consists of many neighboring cities coming to Maipu and devoting their time, prayers, and some belongings such as flowers, pictures, spices, etc. Overall Chilean people are celebrating their independence and the struggle and fight that was put towards winning it. After proper devotion to Our Lady of Carmel a festival is conducted to celebrate and enjoy the times with people around the country. The festival includes dancing and different kinds of foods.

Guillermo, Prado Ocaranza Juan. María en Chile: Fiestas Populares. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Biblioteca Americana, 2002.

Researched by Logan J. Rush

Popular Devotions

Festival and Feast that occurs on July 16th for prayer and worship to take place

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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