Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of El Viejo

Mary Throughout Latin America (Pg. 34) Ligouri, Missouri, 2005.




Our lady of the Immaculate Conception of El Viejo is an image of Mary located in a sanctuary in a small village of Nicaragua. It is hard to trace the origins of this image of Mary, although It is said to have been brought to America by a relative of St. Therese of Avila. Although there is no evidence, individuals have said it was the saint’s brother, Rodrigo de Cepeda Ahumada. This man is said to have carried the image around with him everywhere he went. He landed in Central America at a port in Nicaragua, called, Realejo. In need of different weather patterns, Rodrigo moved to the Franciscan Mission. There he set up a private chapel in his house of the image of the Mary. He allowed neighbors to come over and visit the Mary’s image. He then was forced to transfer to Peru, and attempted to take the image with him, although his move was postponed on numerous occasions, citing bad weather. He had a realization that it could be God’s will that was trying to have him leave the Immaculate Conception of El Viejo in Nicaragua with those who had grown so fond of it. So with slight hesitation, he decided to leave the Mary in the Village, where it has remained to this day.

There was an apparition in 1980 in the town Cuapa, Nicaragua, to a man named Bernardo. Bernardo tells the story of the time he had gone fishing near Cuapa on a river. There were sudden flashes of lighting, but no rain had followed. The lighting then continued to flash, until an image appeared. He believed it to be the same statue in the chapel, but he then saw her blink. He continued to examen her realistic features, human like skin, moving hair and eyes. She even responded to his questions, stating her name. Continuing a conversation with her, she reveals her requests that the rosary be prayed every day, not in a rush or without true meaning, but at a time that has no conflict. Nicaragua had an earthquake earlier, and she threatened that if things did not change with their faith that more suffering will continue to happen in Nicaragua. This was only one example of an apparition that an individual in Nicaragua had with this image of Mary. Their devotional experiences are important to their faith and in venerating Mary.

Ligouri. Mary Throughout Latin America. Missouri, 2005

Varghese, Roy Abraham. God-sent: a history of the accredited apparitions of Mary. New York: Crossroad Pub. Co., 2011.


Researched by Samuel D. White

Popular Devotions

There is a feast in December to celebrate the Marian image. It is called the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

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.