March 7

Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

The legend relates that the Spanish were carrying the image of the Virgin of the Rosary to the capital of Guatemala, but took a rest stop in the city of Quetzaltenango while crossing the high plains. When the time came to leave, the image became too heavy for the oxen to pull its cart. Spanish and local people tried repeatedly to move it but could not. When they turned the cart around, the weight lessened; and everyone understood that the Virgin wanted to remain in Quetzaltenango. The image was consecrated on January 20, 1781 by Archbishop Cayetano Francos y Monroy in the cathedral there. Devotion intensified after April 18, 1902, when at 8:00 pm the San Perfecto earthquake struck. Constant temblors provoked a fire which consumed most of the church that housed the statue. When the flames finally reached the Virgin's altar, residents rescued it and placed it in the bandstand in the park. The townspeople who were there knelt immediately and began to pray to the Virgin, and the movements subsided. The city thanked Our Lady of the Rosary for its survival. Xela (as Quetzaltenango is usually called), now the second most important city in Guatemala, celebrates its patron in late September and early October, with festivities culminating on October 7, feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. On March 7, 1983, Pope John Paul II crowned the statue during his pastoral visit to the native communities of the Department in the plains of Olintepeque. (Information from Carlos Osberto Rivas López, "Historia de Nuestra Patrona," and "festejos patronales en xela en honor a La Virgen del Rosario," Sept. 7, 2007, Photo by Carlos Ventura from "Homenaje a la Patrona de los Quetzaltecos,"   

Also commemorated this date:

bulletNotre-Dame de Kaya, Kaya, Sanmatenga, Centre-Nord, Burkina Faso. Church of Our Lady of Victories founded, 1935; now cathedral.
bulletMadonna di Monte Berico, Vicenza, Veneto, Italy. Apparition, 1426.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly