January 18

Virgen de Zapopan, Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico

Patron of Jalisco state and the city of Guadalajara, the little Virgin of Zapopan is revered throughout Mexico. In 1541, ten years after the miraculous apparition of Guadalupe, Franciscan Fray Antonio de Segovia, who was said to have converted thousands of Indians with its help, gave the statue to the new mission of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción de Tzapopan near present-day Guadalajara. Devotion to Our Lady of Zapopan increased after she was credited with saving the region from the plague of 1653. She is also invoked against storms and lightning. The Virgencita stands just over a foot high, her hands folded in prayer. A wig of dark tresses and flaring, embroidered vestments cover her painted carmine robe and blue mantle. Also known as La Generala, she wears the sky-blue sash of a nineteenth-century Mexican general and holds a scepter and staff. A copy of the statue, called La Peregrina, the Pilgrim, travels throughout the region during the summer, bringing blessings to those who cannot make the pilgrimage to Zapopan. On her feast day, October 12, the Pilgrim Virgin returns to her sanctuary with incredible pomp atop a new car never before started, covered with flowers, accompanied by Indian dance groups, huge cages full of singing birds, and some 2 million devotees. Archbishop Francisco Orozco y Jiménez crowned the original statue Queen of Jalisco on January 18, 1921. (Information and image from "Our Lady of Zapopan Shrine," The Mary Page, campus.udayton.edu/mary; also Karen Blue, "October Fiestas," Living at Lake Chapala, www.mexico-insights.com; and Provincia Franciscana de los Santos Francisco y Santiago en Mexico, ofmjal.agenciacatolica.com.)

Also celebrated this date:
bulletBeata Vergine del Soccorso, Imola, Bologna, Emilia Romagna, Italy (Blessed Virgin of Aid). Panel blessed January 18, 1472, now in Diocesan Museum; copy on main altar of the church of S. Maria in Valverde.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly