Our Lady of Coromoto
Photograph of the statue of Our Lady of Coromoto at Dominican Church in Havana, Cuba. Courtesy of Steve Holler. https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/p/prayer-to-our-lady-of-coromoto.php
Our Lady of Coromoto was declared Patroness of the Republic of Venezuela in 1944 by Pope Pius XII. Five years later the National Sanctuary of the Virgin of Coromoto, a meeting place of great pilgrimages, was declared a Basilica by Pope Pius XII. Our Lady of Coromoto is celebrated by Venezuelans each year on three different different occasions: February 2nd, The feast of Our Lady of Coromoto, and September 8th (the first day she appeared in front of the chief) and 11th. The Virgin of Coromoto got her name from the Coromoto Tribe of Portuguesa. Before 1591, Indians of the Coromoto Tribe were settled in Portuguesa, one of the 23 states in Venezuela. In the early 1590s, Spaniards arrived to Guanare, the capital of Portuguesa. This urged the Coromoto tribe to leave their land and move towards the Tucupido River because they did not want anything to do with the colonizing white men or their religion. Fifty years later, the Coromoto tribe and the Spaniards still did not interact but lived near each other in peace.
In 1651 the chief of the Coromoto tribe and his wife saw a beautiful lady, Virgin Mary, with a loving expression carrying a small child in the ravine of the Tucupido River, she summoned the chief and gave him an order, "Leave the forest with your people and go to the white men in order to receive the water on the head so as to be able to enter heaven." The chief obeyed and brought his tribe to the Spaniards to learn about the religion that they had brought with them, Christianity. The Coromoto tribe had trouble transitioning into the religion and new way of life and returned to their village. The Virgin appeared again but this time the chief was uninterested and tried to threaten her. Amid the chief’s attempts to threaten and get rid of the smiling lady, she disappeared and only a small holy card with her image was left in the chief’s hand. The small holy card is made of parchment or tissue paper. The image was first drawn with a fine pen and then later sketched as a portrait with dots and dashes using India ink. The image shows The Virgin sitting on a throne and holding Baby Jesus, both wearing royal crowns and looking straight ahead. Now, hundreds of years later, the image of The Virgin of Coromoto is worn and the image of Jesus is almost completely gone. The relic is kept inside a richly adorned monstrance where it is presented for the veneration of the faithful.
Vinke, Ramón. Madre de Coromoto, virgen venezolana. Caracas: Ramón Vinke, 2009.
Researched by Mariah N. Allen
Venezuelans celebrate Our Lady of Coromoto during three feasts each year: February 2nd and September 8th and 11th.
The National Sanctuary of the Virgin of Coromoto was declared a Basilica by Pope Pius XII on May 24, 1949.
Beautiful Lady Mary, Virgin Mother of the Redeemer, with you we praise and glorify the Father in the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. We beseech you that, just as in Coromoto you guided the steps of the Indians towards the baptismal grace, you may now capture the heart of the Venezuelans, and bring them to the renewal of their faith.
Virgin of Coromoto, patron of Venezuela, bless the evangelistic action of the Church in our Country so that she might be fortress and defense of the faith of your children, and beginning of a renewal of the Christian customs.
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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