Monday after the Sunday after St. Anthony Abbot's Day (January 17)
Nuestra Señora de Peñarroya, Ermita de Peñarroya, Ciudad Real, Castilla-La
|The statue of Our Lady of Peñarroya spends a third of the year at each of three
places: the Castillo de Peñarroya, the Moorish fortress where it was found; and the towns of Argamasilla de Alba and La Solana, 7.5 and 21
miles away. On this day, usually the third Monday in January, the people
of La Solana return the beloved statue to its distant castle sanctuary (ermita).
Robed in brocade and wearing huge crowns, the Virgin and Child ride in a
curtained litter on men's shoulders (right, from Parroquia Santa
Catalina - La Solana, www.sta-catalina.com). On the last Sunday in
April, the Brotherhood from Argamasilla comes to carry the statue there,
to stay until returning to La Solana the second Sunday in September. The
week before her departure, Argamasilla honors its patron with a big fiesta
which culminates the first Sunday of September with an offering,
procession, and dances.
Each town has a different story about the statue's origin. Argamasilla
holds that on September 8, 1198, when Capt. Alonso Pérez de Sarabia was
overtaking the Castillo, a Moor named Allen promised to reveal the
location of treasure if spared. Along with material treasures, the
conqueror found the spiritual treasure of the Virgin. But La Solana
credits the discovery to one of its native sons, who was herding goats
near the castle wall where the statue was hidden—and was helped by the
Virgin in person, in some versions.
The original statue was burned in the Spanish Civil War. Inspired by an
apparition of Our Lady, a fighter pilot arranged for its replacement.
Possibly because of its similarly miraculous history, devotion to the
second Virgin of Peñarroya rivals that of the first. (Information from
"Nuestra Señora de Peñarroya," Página de los amigos de
Argamasilla de Alba, www.terra.es/personal3/gaston_phoebus/Patrona.htm,
and other sources.)