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Our Lady of the Refuge of Sinners

Our Lady of the Refuge of Sinners, Marian holy cards collection,
ML.031 Box 26, circa 1675-2018. Marian Library, University of
Dayton Libraries, Dayton, Ohio.




Our Lady of Refuge has a feast day that is celebrated every year in Mexico on July 4th. The image of Our Lady of Refuge was originally venerated in Italy but has gained many followers and popularity in Mexico over the past couple of centuries. The idea for this Mary first came about in 1709 from a man named Antonio Baldinucci who wanted an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary to move hearts towards Mercy. He wanted something that he could bring with him on missionary journeys to towns in Italy that could serve as a reminder to the people for the consequences of their actions. Antonio wanted an image that could convince the separated ones of God to return to the good way, and be used in his apostolic preachings of conversion of sinners. He had intentions to travel to Mexico and preach there as well but his health kept him back. Italian artist Joseph de Paez created a painting of Our Lady of Refuge of Sinners, and it was this image that Antonio carried around and used during his preachings. Soon news of this image spread, encouraging great love and devotion among the people as well as gaining followers and popularity in both Italy and Mexico. The image itself was reproduced over four thousand times and set in churches and places of worship in Northern Mexico, Italy and the state of California. The actual image of Our Lady of Refuge contains Mary holding a naked infant Jesus. Mary is wearing a crown and they are both leaning towards each other, with Mary looking out at the observer and infant Jesus looking to the left. The image itself has no actual background and there is no space between Jesus and Mary. There are many variations of this image but Mary is always dressed in a red or pink and Jesus has a blue cloth wrapped around him. The enhanced purpose of this image of Mary is to exemplify the faults of sin and the mission of Jesus Christ. It is believed that only God can remove sin; only through the sacrament of reconciliation can one’s heart can be restored with grace and cleansed in forgiveness. The Our Lady of Refuge image unites Mary and Jesus, trying to act as an influencing example for how to obey God’s plan and avoid sin.

The main headquarters for the dedication of Our Lady of Refuge is in the Basilica of San Sebastian del Analco. This Basilica is frequently visited by many to ask for protection from the evil of sins, to receive the sacrament of reconciliation, and to say thank you for blessings and forgiveness of their wrong doings. There are many churches in both Mexico and California that are named after Our Lady of Refuge. One that has specifically gained great popularity is located in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It is filled with stained glass windows and golden accents. Some believe it to be one of the most enduring landmarks of the city.

Researched by Courtney M. Ware

Popular Devotions

(Aztec Language):
eotl mitz pahcahyohui Maria
te temiticah in tlen cuacaultzin
in tlacatzintli cah ica tehua
huan ica tematzin
ticah ica nochi zohuameh
huan man ye ica Teotl
in xochicualli in moihtic tic pia
Jesus, mah ihquion mochihua
zohua Teotl Maria
te Nantzin in Teotl
topan xi tlahto tlen otic huicaqueh necuil ohtli
cuac ye ti miquizcueh
huan cuac yo ti miqueh
mah ihquion mochihua

Four main prayers - Prayer of Confidence, Refuge of Sinners, to obtain
Holy Perseverance, Deliverance from hell
"Refuge of sinners, pray for us.
O Mary, pray for us, and save us."

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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