March 28

Virgen del Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador

On July 9, 1892, the bishops of Ecuador consecrated their country to the Most Pure Heart of Mary, and August 5, voting on legislation introduced by its saintliest Senator, Fr. Julio Matovelle, the Ecuadoran Congress agreed to ratify that consecration and build a commemorative statue on Panecillo Hill, a bun-shaped rise overlooking the capital, Quito. As it turned out, the Virgin's statue was a long time off. The government was already encumbered with a 12,000-peso debt for a basilica not yet started, which Senator Matovelle got through Congress in 1884 to commemorate Ecuador's consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1874. The Liberal Revolution of 1895 curtailed clerical power, and the military coup of 1925 ushered in several decades of political and social instability. At Father Matovelle's death in 1929, his monuments were still dreams. But his country remembered him, while seeming to forget its commitment to Jesus and Mary. In 1938, the Congress authorized a monument to Matovelle; in 1959, the Archbishop declared him a Servant of God; in 1965, the cause of his beatification was introduced to the Vatican; and in 1966, his home town of Cuenca dedicated a monument to him. Finally, in 1975, Rigoberto Correa, Superior General of the Oblates of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary--founded in Cuenca by Matovelle in 1881-- asked Spanish sculptor Agustín de la Herrán Matorras to design a monumental statue. On March 28, 1976, Pablo Muñoz Vega, Archbishop of Quito, dedicated the 49-yard-high aluminum image of Mary on Panecillo. Based on Bernardo de Legarda's 1734 Virgin of Quito in the Church of St. Francis there, the sculpture depicts Mary with wings, symbolic of her assumption to heaven and assistance to earth. The Basilica begun in 1892 was finally consecrated in 1988. In 1994, the Vatican recognized Matovelle's "heroic virtues," bestowing on him the title of "Venerable." 

marian calendar     march


"Virgen del Panecillo," Quito, Ecuador, official travel guide, (image)
"Brillo Eterno," Sol en los Andes,
Misioneros Oblatos de los Corazones Santísimos de Jesús y María,
"El Panecillo," Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,

Also commemorated this date:

Notre-Dame de Miséricorde, Sauvigny-le-Bois, Yonne, Burgundy, France (Our Lady of Mercy). New statue installed and blessed, 1943. Pilgrimage first Sunday in September.
Nostra Signora della Bocciola, Vacciago di Ameno, Novara, Piedmont, Italy. Apparition, 1528. Solemn feast last Sun. in August.
Madonna dell'Elcina, Abbateggio, Pescara, Abruzzo, Italy. First stone of present shrine placed, 1926. Festa September 8.
Nuestra Señora de la Estrella, Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Andalucia, Spain. Statue arrived at Colegio San José, 1962. Blessed May 27.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly