Our Lady of Peace
In 1682, a mysterious box washed upon shore in Mar del Sur, El Salvador. The Merchants who discovered the box were unable to open it, so they decided to sent it to the city of San Miguel so that it could be opened. They imagined it must contain something valuable seeing how tightly fastened the box was. They put the box on the back of a donkey and sent it to San Miguel, where it arrived on November 21st. When the donkey arrived to the city, it kneeled down in front of a church. People then realized they could open the box, and inside the box was an image of Mary holding Jesus as a child.
The statuette is a dressed wooden carving wearing a white robe. The robe is embroidered with the national shield of El Salvador. Mary is holding a golden palm leaf, which is symbolic of the eruption of Chaparrastique, an eruption which threatened to destroy the city of San Miguel with Lava. It is said that when the frightened inhabitants set the statue of Mary against the front door of the cathedral, the direction of the lava flow changed. There now stands a town in that exact spot, named Milagro de la Paz. The Leaf was added in 1787, after clouds formed in the image of a palm leaf appeared to be emerging from the volcano crater on September 21st. Those faithful to Our Lady of Peace saw this as a sign of her protection, and then decided to add the palm.
The origins of the statue and box are still a mystery, with no knowledge about who they were intended for. It is said that a bloody battle was taking place when the box was discovered, but when the two groups had learned what it contained, they immediately laid down their weapons. Additionally, in 1833, the statue proved to be a symbol of peace, because at her feet a vow was made to erase all grudges and hatred so peace could emerge. She was named Our Lady of Peace because of this.
Benedict XVI authorized the crowning of the image on November 21st, 1921. It is comprised of gold, diamonds, and a large emerald.
A shrine was dedicated in 1953.
Researched by Corinne M. Woodruff
Feast Day is November 21
Patroness of El Salvador
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.