Nuestra Senora Purisima de lo Vazquez
On Display in the Marian Library
Virgin de Lo Vasquez means "Virgin of Lo Vaszuez," a city in Chile. Don Jose Ulloa raised money and built a small heritage in the garden in front of his house, and there placed an image of the Virgin. As time went on the number of visitors increased, eventually to the point where it was time to build a sanctuary around the Virgin. In 1850 Fray Jose Manuel Troncoso decided to move the Virgin about 100 meters north on the road to Valparaiso. The Leiva Vasquez family donated a piece of land that could be used to build an entire sanctuary and this is why its located in Lo Vasquez. On April 2nd, 1851 a terrible earthquake destroyed this chapel although Father Troncoso began to raise funds and the church get rebuilt (33m x 7m). In 1854 inauguration of the new chapel was approved, which surfaced 100m x 150m. On August 16th, 1906 another earthquake struck and knocked down the third Chapel of the Sanctuary of Lo Vasquez. It is said, “On December 8, 1908, the parish priest of Casablanca , Don José Miguel Galaz, blessed and placed the first stone, not of a Chapel but of a true Temple for the Immaculate Virgin” (Wikipedia).
The celebration takes place on December 8th, when thousands of people travel from the capital city to Lo Vasquez to give their time to the Immaculate Virgin. People begin arriving in the early morning and the last masses are held around 4 AM for the last of the travelers. This celebration must be timely because of the large number of people the city attracts, and lots of work has been done surrounding the sanctuary since the number of participants keeps increasing. Additional routes, new viewing areas, and reception areas have been constructed to assist the great number on their pilgrimage and devotion towards this Marian shrine. Third parties such as the Red Cross participate in helping with transportation of people and many other things. Its said that there is never any trouble in the area because it is known as “dry”. People enter the shrine on their knees and sometimes women are carrying children. Lots of flowers and other things are left by the people near the Virgin. After everyone gives their devotions, a huge festival is celebrated surrounding the temple. This is when there is dancing, live music, and lots of food. The festival ends with the procession of the big statue and a goodbye from the Bishop of Valparaiso.
Guillermo, Prado Ocaranza Juan. María en Chile: Fiestas Populares. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Biblioteca Americana, 2002.
Researched by Logan J. Rush
“This feast day had a very long and slow development. In the Eastern Church, the feast of the Nativity of Mary, September 8th, was celebrated as early as the late 6th century. In the early 7th century, the feast of the Mary's conception was observed in the East. In the West the feast of the Conception of Mary was introduced in Naples around 850 and in England around 1030. After the Norman conquest in 1066, it passed to Normandy, France, Spain, Germany and Belgium” (Udayton Lib, IMRI).
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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