La Virgin de Suyapa

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Our Lady of Suyapa or the Virgin of Suyapa 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 Little Dark One”) that is about two and a half inches tall.  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 is covered in 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 an eight-year old Native boy named Alejandro Colindres came across a tiny statue when his mother asked him to go out and work in the cornfields on a mountain called Piligüin near their home.   On his way back, Alejandro was forced to sleep outside since he could not make it home before nightfall.  While the young was sleeping he felt a sharp object beneath his side and, startled, he grabbed the item that was causing him pain and threw it away from him.  Seconds later when he lay down once again, the object was in the same spot beneath him.


When the boy woke up, he discovered that the sharp object happened to be a carved cedar statue of the Virgin, which he brought back home with him to his mother. Alejandro Colindres found the statue sometime in January or February in the year 1747.  So the statue stood on his family’s altar for close to thirty years until a chapel was built for it in the year 1777.


Once the first shrine of Our Lady of Suyapa was blessed, a second miracle occurred.  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.  Therefore, it is said that it’s impossible to keep what is stolen from her.


Pope Pius XI declared Our Lady of Suyapa Patroness of the Republic of Honduras in 1925 on February 3rd, her feast day.  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.  Thousands make a yearly pilgrimage to the Basilica de Suyapa, which is located in the capital of Honduras. 



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.


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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.


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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of the Marian Library at the 

University of Dayton.