Wednesday before Easter

Virgen de Copacabana de Punta Corral, Tilcara, Jujuy, Argentina

The memoirs of Don Roque Jacinto Torres, first "slave" of the Virgin of Punta Corral, tell how his brother-in-law found the little statue in the highlands of northern Argentina. In July of 1835, Don Pablo Méndez was seeking shelter for his cattle during bad weather. As he crossed the pass of Punta Corral, he beheld a woman in white, with shining hair and friendly voice. She engaged him in conversation, suggesting he return there to look for her. Stupefied, Méndez managed to mark the spot with stones and return to his ranch below. In the kitchen he told his family what had happened; some laughed, others said he'd been dreaming; others were amazed. Only R.J. Torres, a capable and educated man, advised him to return the next day. As it happened, the woman did not reappear, but Pablo found a white stone on the mountain, left like a sign, bearing an image that reminded him of one he'd seen in a print: the Virgencita de Copacabana of Bolivia, so revered and well-known. He could clearly discern her crowned head, conical mantle, and something with the shape of a baby.   

Pablo Méndez and his family took the stone image to the priest in the town of Tumbaya, who decided it should stay there in the church. But it soon disappeared. Don Pablo returned to the apparition site and found the image there, so it seemed clear that the Virgin wanted it to stay on Punta Corral. 

Virgin of Punta Corral, posted Oct. 29, 2008 to

So Méndez & Torres vowed "slavery" to the devotion and built an oratory on the mountain. Some years later, Torres took sick and promised to build a better chapel if healed. On his recovery, in 1889, the shrine was begun. In 1891 he went to Potosí to buy bells, a crown, and a silver moon to go under the Virgin's feet. 

Now, on Wednesday of Holy Week, thousands of devotees ascend the switchbacks along the mountainside to reach the chapel containing the Virgin's statue. The next day, at dawn, the "Mamita Virgen" descends on the shoulders of the faithful to a church in Tumbaya or Tilcara, magnficently dressed, bejeweled and covered with flowers, with her "slave" before her. More people converge on the town to pay homage. On Good Friday, there is a torchlight procession. On Saturday, a long line of pilgrims forms at the church to give thanks to the Little Virgin for the blessings of the year and the strength to continue to make the visit. Over the streets are arches of flowers.

On July 17, with tearful farewells, the Virgin returns to her high mountain shrine.

(Information from Advocaciones de María, 

Also commemorated this date:

bulletMadonna della Pietà del Popolo, Trapani, Trapani, Sicily, Italy. Procession of paintings of Mary and Jesus sponsored by fruit vendors.
bulletMaría Santísima de la Caridad en su Soledad del Baratillo, Seville, Andalucia, Spain
bulletNuestra Señora de las Lágrimas en su Desamparo, Córdoba, Andalucia, Spain (Our Lady of Tears in her Abandonment)

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly