Third Sunday in Lent

Virgen de Gádor, Berja, Almería, Andalucía, Spain

In the fall of 1588, two hermits came to Berja from far away. Dominic of St. John and John of St. Mary gathered alms in town and with them founded a sanctuary on some church ruins in the depopulated site of Pixnela, at the foot of the Gádor range. According to notary Francisco Ruiz, c1590, they placed therein a "clothed statue of Our Lady about a yard high." The people of Berja soon became devoted to Our Lady of Gádor. In 1592, the hermits decided to leave their sanctuary to enter a religious order, leaving the chapel to the town of Berja in exchange for alms, on condition that nothing in it, including the image of the Virgin, would be removed, not even by the parish church. This same act of cession established the Brotherhood of the Virgin of Gádor, who has been the patron saint of Berja ever since.    

The statue the hermits brought was a candelero image, with carved head and hands and a columnar body meant to be clothed. Marxist partisans destroyed it on July 29, 1936, during the Civil War. Almost immediately the devoted Catholics of Berja ordered a new statue from imagenero Eduardo Espinosa Cuadros of Granada. His sculpture, which arrived September 23, 1936, is the one still honored in Berja.

The traditional romería or pilgrimage of the Virgen de Gádor begins with the bajada on the second Sunday in Lent, when the statue is carried from the sanctuary to the Church of the Annunciation in town. On the following Sunday, the Virgin processes through the city streets. A week later, at the subida, she returns to her shrine. Over the years these celebrations became too rowdy for the penitential season of Lent, so the Catholic Church established a second romería around September 8, feast of the Nativity of the Virgin, in 1955.

(Image and information from

Also commemorated this date:
bulletNotre-Dame de la Paix de Temento, Simbandi Balant, Kolda, Senegal (Our Lady of Peace). Annual regional pilgrimage.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly