April 12


Virgen del Valle, San Fernando del Valle, Catamarca, Argentina

Around 1620, a native man was herding sheep near a ravine, when he encountered some girls carrying flowers and lamps. Curious, he returned the next day and found a well-worn path, which he followed three miles to a cave where there was evidence of bonfires and dancing. There, in a niche, he found a statuette of the Virgin, her dark hands folded in prayer. Some months later, he told his boss, Spanish settler Don Manuel de Salazar, about the Indians' Virgin. To their dismay, Don Salazar took the statue home, but after it returned repeatedly to its original spot, the Catholics built a church there. The statue moved to this new parish church around 1640. On December 16, 1688, church authorities declared the Virgin of the Valley patron saint of the city and province of Catamarca in northwest Argentina. On April 12, 1891, the statue was canonically crowned. Catamarcans honor the Virgin del Valle on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, and also on the second Saturday after Easter. She is also Argentina's patron of turismo. (Information from Portal de la Virgen, www.virgendelvalle.net.ar. Picture from "Historia de la Virgen del Valle," Taringa!, www.taringa.net/posts/offtopic/1090160/.)

Also commemorated this date:

Vergine della Rivelazione, Rome, Italy. Apparition, 1947.
Madonna degli Angeli, Cicciano, Napoli, Campania, Italy. Painting crowned, 1915.
Santa Maria a Parete, Liveri di Nola, Napoli, Campania, Italy. Image found, 1514.
Madonna della PuritÓ, Acireale, Catania, Sicily, Italy. Painting completed miraculously, 1763.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly