April 9

Virgen del Espino, Chauchina, Granada, Andalucía, Spain

In the town of Chauchina, in the farmlands of southern Spain, 65-year-old Rosario Granados Martín was known for her goodness, but for three years suffered incurable cancerous ulcers on her leg. Using a chair as a walker, the widow went out on the morning of April 9, 1906, to a thorn bush where she was accustomed to wash her purulent sores and change their dressing. A woman in mourning approached her, carrying a black rosary, and offered to cure her if she would go with her to the new cemetery, some distance away. The old woman let go of her support and followed the stranger down the path, surprising those she passed with her agility and insistence that she was following a beautiful lady they didn't see. At the cemetery entrance, the two women knelt to say the rosary. Exhausted, Rosario fell asleep. When she awoke, her sores and the woman in black were gone. She went joyfully back to town to tell her story, and everyone realized that the mysterious visitor must have been the Virgin of Sorrows. A chapel was built near the thorn bush. After a life of devotion, Rosario died in 1921. In 1925, Capuchin nuns took up residence at the shrine, which they still maintain.   

Meanwhile, around 1918, in the city of Granada, devout José Farrugia perceived his antique statue of Our Lady of Sorrows telling him, "Take me to Chauchina!" After the third request, he visited the town some 10 miles away, and on learning about the apparition there, donated the image to the shrine. When Rosario saw it she exclaimed, "She looks so much like the Good Woman!" Dating from around 1600 and much restored, the tearful image was canonically crowned September 9, 2006. 

Chauchina celebrates Our Lady of the Thorn every 9th of April, with rosaries, confessions, masses, floral offerings, and a procession to the cemetery, where everyone who has made a vow takes turns carrying the statue. (Information and picture from the Brotherhood's former website, Hermandad Sacramental de Ntra. SRa. del Espino Coronada, www.virgendelespino.es.)

Also commemorated this date:

bulletWeeping Mother of God, Pruzhany, Brest, Belarus, Orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky. Virgin in Crucifixion icon wept, 1934. Commemorated on Bright Friday (Friday after Orthodox Easter).
bulletL'Immacolata, Montepaone, Catanzaro, Calabria, Italy. Damaged and restored church reconsecrated, 1752.
bulletHulp in alle Nood, Belfeld, Venlo, Limburg, Netherlands, Geloo district (Help in Every Need). Statue intact after night bombing raid destroyed chapel, 1943.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly