Virgen del Cisne, El Cisne, Loja, Ecuador
Not long after founding the city of Loja, Ecuador in 1548, the
Spanish colonized a mountain area 45 miles away, naming it El Cisne, The
Swan. In 1594, a drought and plague of rats destroyed crops in the region.
Threatened with famine in addition to pressure from the Spanish, the local
Indians had decided to emigrate in search of a better land, when an
apparition of the Virgin changed their minds. A young native woman herding
sheep to pasture met "with a most lovely Lady crowned with fragrant
roses" who stayed with her, conversing about God while the flock
grazed. "Confide in me, because I am going to help and protect you so
you will never be hungry again. Here I want to assist you. Build a shrine
in this place, where I will always be with you," the Lady said. The
people built the church, and rains fell. October 12, 1594, is sometimes
given as the apparition date, sometimes as the end of the drought.
(October 12, feast of the Virgen
del Pilar, has long been a Marian holy day in Spanish-speaking
countries.) The natives of El Cisne commissioned a statue from Diego de
Robles of Quito, already known for the image of Our Lady of Quinche,
another popular Ecuadoran Virgin with indigenous ties. Carved of oak, the
statue of the Virgen del Cisne, "La Churona," stands 26"
tall, holding the Child in her left hand and a scepter in her right. The
statue was canonically crowned on September 8, 1930. A new shrine begun in
1934 was consecrated on August 12, 1979, attended by a crowd of regional
clergy and officials. Annually in mid-August, thousands of pilgrims
accompany La Churona on a three-day journey to the Cathedral in Loja,
where the statue remains until returning to the Basilica of El Cisne on
November 1. (Information from the Sanctuary's website, www.santuariodelcisne.org.
Photo taken January 14, 2010, by Ivanova Preciado, "preciosa," Flickr
- Photo Sharing!, www.flickr.com/photos/46586309@N08/.)
Also commemorated this date:
|Notre Dame de Préaux, Préaux, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France.
New church blessed, 1777. Feast August 15.|
|Notre Dame-de-Bon-Port, Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, Pays de la Loire,
France. Present church inaugurated, 1858.|
|Notre Dame du Château, Saint-Christophe, Cantal, Auvergne, France|
|Notre-Dame de Héas, Héas, Hautes-Pyrénées, Midi-Pyrénées, France.
Present chapel blessed, 1928. Pilgrimages Aug. 15 & Sept. 8.|
|Madonna della Neve, Ripalimosani, Campobasso, Molise, Italy (Madonna of
the Snow). Palio. |
|Madonna della Cappella, San Lorenzo, Reggio Calabria, Calabria, Italy.
Icon processes from town church to rural Sanctuary.|
|Incoronazione dell'Immacolata, Diamante, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy. Festa
commemorates statue's crowning Aug. 12, 1928.|
|Madonna del Bosco, Montemilone, Potenza, Basilicata, Italy (Madonna of the
|Madonna di Pompei, Castro, Salento, Puglia, Italy. Festa.|
|Madonna di Macereto, Visso, Macerata, Marche, Italy. Mules transporting
statue would not go further, 1359.|
|Madonna del Ponte Metauro, Fano, Pesaro e Urbino, Marche, Italy. Crowned
by John Paul II & proclaimed Patron of the Marines, 1984. Festa Easter
|Our Lady of Guadalupe, Puchong, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Church dedicated,
|Santísima Virgen de Unbe, Getxo, Biscay, Basque Country, Spain. Final apparition, 1988.
Procession first Saturday in September.|
|Virgen de los Dolores, Orce, Granada, Andalucía, Spain (Virgin of
Sorrows). Fiesta moved from
Sept. 15 to Aug. 12-15 so returning émigrés could participate.|
|Virgen de la Cabeza, Antas, Almería, Spain. Image found, 1427 (Virgin of
the Head). Romería
Thurs. of 3rd week in Lent. Fiesta Sept. 8.|
|Ladyewell, Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom. New church dedicated,