May 8

Nuestra Señora de Luján, Luján, Mendoza, Argentina

The story of Our Lady of Lujan, patron of Argentina, goes back to 1630, when Antonio Farías Sáa, a rancher based in Sumampa in the north-central part of the country, decided to build a chapel to the Virgin on his estate. He asked a friend in Brazil to send him a statue of the Immaculate Conception. The friend sent two, one with the child Jesus and one without. When the images arrived in Buenos Aires, they were placed in a cart which left in a caravan for Sumampa. The party stopped on the banks of the river Lujan 42 miles from Buenos Aires, at the Rosendo Ranch. The next day when they started to leave, the cart with the statues wouldn't move, even after the rest of its load was taken out and more oxen hitched. The images remained in the bottom of the cart in two small boxes. The teamsters removed one, and it still didn't move. They put it back and took out the other, and the cart moved normally. Then the men realized that a miracle had occurred. On seeing that one Virgin didn't want to go farther, they took her to don Rosendo's hacienda. The family was moved to see the image — the childless statue — and installed it in their house. The news spread throughout the region to Buenos Aires. Pilgrims began traveling to the spot, so don Rosendo built a small chapel, where the statue stayed until 1674. In the 1700s, the church of Our Lady of Lujan became the nucleus of a growing community. On May 8, 1887, she was crowned by order of Leo XIII, and her feast established on the Saturday before the fourth Sunday after Easter. A larger sanctuary was built, which Pius II gave the title of Basilica in 1930. The 15" terracotta statue stands in a protective silver sheath, covered in turn by robes in the national colors of white and sky blue. Now the principal celebration takes place on the coronation anniversary, May 8. 

Preface from today's Mass in honor of the Virgin of Lujan:

Realmente es justo y necesario,
Padre todopoderoso,
que entonemos siempre en tu honor
himnos y cantos de alabanza,
especialmente por el amor sin límites
que quisiste manifestarnos en María, Virgen y Madre:
Una humilde imagen de su limpia y pura Concepción
se quedó milagrosamente en la Villa de Luján
como signo de su maternal protección
sobre tu pueblo peregrinante en la Argentina,
para que llevados de su mano
podamos llegar al trono del Cordero inocente
que quita el pecado del mundo,
Cristo Jesús, tu Hijo y nuestro único Salvador.
It is truly right and just,
Father all-powerful,
that in your honor we should always sing
hymns and songs of praise,
especially for the boundless love
that you wished to show us in Mary, Virgin and Mother:
A humble image of her stainless and pure Conception
remained miraculously in the town of Lujan
as a sign of her maternal protection
over your pilgrim people in Argentina,
so that brought by her hand
we may reach the throne of the innocent Lamb
who takes away the sin of the world,
your Son and our only Savior.

Information from "Efemérides – Día de Nuestra Señora de Luján," Portal Educativo de la Provincia de Mendoza, www.mendoza.edu.ar, and the shrine's site, www.basilicadelujan.org.ar. Photo by Patricio Burraco, 2007, from "Virgen de Luján Photo," TrekEarth, www.trekearth.com.

Also commemorated this date:

Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the Order of Preachers
Mary, Health of the Sick, patronal feast of the Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick
Mater Formosa, Hejnice, Liberec, Czech Republic (Lovely Mother). Pilgrimage from Czech Rep., Poland, and Germany.
Vierge Marie, Signy-le-Petit, Ardennes, Champagne-Ardenne, France. Private apparition, 1890, to children Marie & Alfred Cailleaux.
Sainte Vierge, Ars-sur-Formans, Ain, Rhône-Alpes, France. Apparition to St. John Vianney witnessed by Etiennette Durié, 1840.
Madonna di Pompei, Cavriana, Mantova, Lombardy, Italy. Fair in Bande district.
Madonna del Soccorso, Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, Italy. Fresco crowned, 1718.
Madonna di Carpineto, Rapino, Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy. Festa & procession.
Madonna della Misericordia, Acqualagna, Pesaro e Urbino, Marche, Italy. Rebuilt church consecrated, 1859. Festa Sept. 8.
Santa Maria delle Grazie, Orte, Viterbo, Latium, Italy
Madonna di Ronci, Roccagiovine, Roma, Latium, Italy
Madonna del Rosario, Pompei, Naples, Campania, Italy. Church consecrated, 1891. Festas May 8 and first Sunday in October.
Madonna della Lica, Pietrapennata, Reggio Calabria, Calabria, Italy
Beata Vergine Maria dello Sterpeto, Barletta, Bari, Puglia, Italy
Madre de Jesús, Cuapa, Nicaragua. First apparition to Bernardo Martinez, 1980.
Virgen de La Caridad, Petilla de Aragón, Navarre, Spain (Virgin of Charity). Romería. Fiesta Sept. 8.
Virgen de La Cuesta, Alconchel de la Estrella, Cuenca, Castilla La Mancha, Spain. Romería 5/7, fiesta at chapel 5/8, procession 5/9.
Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados, Valencia, Valencia, Spain (Our Lady of the Forsaken)
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly