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Virgin de Suyapa

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Our Lady of Suyapa is also known as the Virgin of Suyapa.  She is a title of the Virgin Mary and is one of Honduras’ most popular religious images. Pope Pius XIII declared the Virgin de Suyapa the patron saint of Honduras in the year 1925.  There is a cedar wood statue of the Virgin, also known as La Morenita ("the Dear Dark One") that is about two and a half inches big.  This is a very old carving that is believed to have been created by an amateur artist that wanted to create the devotional item.  The statue of the Virgin has an oval, lengthy face with hair that reaches her shoulders.  A dark cloak covers the statue with golden stars on it, and she wears a light pink robe.  The statue of the Virgin has her hands together in prayer position and she wears precious jewels.  The statue mostly stays in the Chapel in the Basilica of the Virgin of Suyapa in Honduras.  However, on February 3rd, her feast day, the statue is moved to a larger church for the large crowds that come to celebrate and honor her. 

In Honduras, the statue is believed to have miraculous powers and to make unbelievable events occur.  Legend says that there was an eight-year old boy named Alejandro Colindres, who came across a tiny statue that was painted and about three inches tall. Alejandro’s mother asked him to go out and work on the cornfields on a mountain near their home called Piligüin Mountain.   On his way home from working in the cornfields, Alejandro was forced to sleep outside that night since they did not make it home before nightfall.  While the young Indian boy was sleeping he felt a sharp object underneath his side and he threw the item that was causing him pain away from him.  Seconds later when he laid down once again, the object was in the same spot underneath his side.  When the boy woke up he discovered that the sharp object happened to be a statue of the Virgin. This statue was carved from cedar and the poor Indian boy brought it back home with him to his mother. Alejandro Colindres found the statue sometime in January or February in the year 1747.  For about twenty years, the statue that the boy found was on his family altar until there was a chapel that was built for the particular statue in the year 1777. 

Once the first shrine of Our Lady of Suyapa was blessed, the first miracle occurred involving the statue.  Since the statue is dressed in gold and silver jewels, it was desired by many all around the country of Honduras.  One day the gold and silver jewels were stolen from the statue, and later were found in the bathroom restaurant in the city of Tegucigalpa where the thief accidentally left them. 

Pope Pius XII declared Our Lady of Suyapa Patroness of the Republic of Honduras.  He declared February 3rd as feast day, instead of the previous date February 2nd.  On the night of February 2nd, many Hondurans light a candle at The Virgin of Suyapa to honor her.

Every year during the first week of February, Hondurans all over the country celebrate “La Feria de la Virgin de Suyapa,” the patron saint of Honduras.  Many make a yearly pilgrimage to the Basilica de Suyapa, which is located in the capital of Honduras.  

“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

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Maya Rosary Prayer:
Ciciolnen cilich María,
chupech ti grazia, Yumilbil 
yan ta uicual, painum a
cicithambilil ichil chuplal
tuxiuili painum u 
cicthambilil xau a ual Hezuz.
   X cilich María, u Na 
Dioze payachxnen okal
toon ah-Kebanob, behelac,
i, itu kiutzil cimil.
   Amen Hezuz.

Citation: http://www.marysrosaries.com/Maya_prayers.html
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There is an 18th century cedar wood statue of the Virgin in the Basílica de Suyapa in Suyapa.
Thousands of people in Central America travel to visit the statue on her name day, which is February 3rd to commemorate the day she was found.

Citation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Suyapa

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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