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Our Lady of the Miracles of Caacupe

Citation – Marian Library Postcard Collection ML.006

Country

Paraguay

Description

The title of Our Lady of Caacupé comes from the sixteenth century when a converted Guarani Indian carved a small image of the Virgin to show his gratitude for having saved his life from a Mbayáe Indian assault.

In the early Sixteenth century, a guarani converted Indian was in the danger of death. He was surrounded by the Mbayáes, a tribe which refused to accept the Christian faith. The tribe had declared itself an enemy of converts. The Indian hid by a massive tree trunk, frightened and trembling. He sat there asking for protection from his Mother in Heaven, the Immaculate, whom the good Friars had taught him to love. He promised the Virgin that if he survived he would carve a pretty image with the wood of the trunk. Nobody saw him sitting there next to the trunk, and the persecutors went past him without discovering him. As soon as he could, the Indian sculptor went back and took the wood he needed from the tree to start his work. Eventually he created two images; the larger image went to the church of Tobati, and the second he kept for his own devotion.  

A few years later there was a great flood that threatened to destroy the nearby towns. The Franciscan friars along with the people that lived in the area began to pray for the calming of the water. Father Luis de Bolaños blessed the waters and was recognized as the one the Indian had carved years earlier, and from then on was called La Virgen de los Milagros (the Virgin of Miracles).

Our Lady of Caacupé is a beautiful wood carving with a gentle oval face and blue eyes. Similar to the lmmaculate, her hands are joined together and lay on her chest in prayer. Her blond hair lays on her shoulders. The small image measures about 50 centimeters.  In order to give her more recognition, her figure was enlarged disproportionately, but the Church authorities declared that the image must return it to its original size. The Virgin of the Miracles wears a white tunic and has a beautiful blue cloak over her shoulders, both embroidered with gold thread. Mary's feet seem to step on a serpent, which is a reference to Genesis and Apocalyptic texts.

Construction of the present church began in 1945, it has been the sanctuary of the Virgin of the Miracles of Caacupé since 1980. Caacupé is the religious center of Paraguay. It is known as the meeting place of the nation and the Church. The blessed image has been a part of the formation process of the Paraguayan nationality.


Sources:

https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/l/latin-american-titles-of-mary.php

Santoro, Nicholas J. Mary In Our Life: Atlas of the Names and Titles of Mary, the Mother of

       Jesus, and Their Place in Marian Devotion. IUniverse, 2011.
 
Researched by Anne Keefe

Popular Devotions

December 8th.  The great feast of “Maria de Caacupé.” On this day thousands of pilgrims congregate at the Virgin’s sanctuary. Many come walking or on bicycles or however they can get there to show their love and gratitude toward their “Mother.” Her feast is celebrated on the same day as 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.

Amen.

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