August 24

marian calendar     august

Nuestra Señora del Milagro del Topo, Tunja, Boyacá, Andina, Colombia

On August 24, 1626, in Tunja, Colombia, two nuns of the Conceptionist Order were crossing the patio of their convent in early morning darkness after prayers, when they noticed an image of the Virgin Mary reflected in a puddle. Looking up, they saw her apparition in the sky. Then a bright light drew their attention to an adjacent cell, where the same image of Mary appeared on a cloth in the window. The nuns told the rest of their sisters, who all came to prostrate themselves before the miraculous picture. 

In 1880, the Conceptionists moved to the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in the neighborhood of El Topo, bringing with them the sacred painting. Now known as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Miracle, the church still draws thousands of pilgrims to pray for Our Lady's help. Miracles of healing are reported often. 

Although art historians identify it as an anonymous 1500s oil on linen renovated in the mid-1600s, religious tradition holds the picture to be an acheiropoieta image, not made with hands, like that of Guadalupe in Mexico. It depicts the Immaculate Virgin between Saints Joseph and Francis, surrounded by clouds bearing symbols: the sun, a monstrance, a well, a fishbone, and a tower.

Our Lady of the Miracle of El Topo is patron of the Archdiocese of Tunja, the canons of Bogotá, and the Colombian Air Force. Her annual fiestas last 12 days, culminating on the first Sunday in June with a procession of the image from El Topo Sanctuary to the cathedral, where the Archbishop holds an outdoor mass in Bolivar Plaza. Crowds sing the chorus of her Gozos, praises:   

Tú imagen, !Madre querida! 
Santo y prodigioso don, 
Que del cielo fue traída, 
Graba en nuestro corazón. 
Your image, Mother we love! 
Marvelous, sacred art 
Brought from heaven above, 
Engrave upon our heart.

Sources include:

"Virgen del Milagro con San Francisco y San Jose," ColArte | El Arte en Colombia, Photo by Gustavo Mateus Cortes.
Andrea Soleto Carreño, "LA VIRGEN DEL MILAGRO DE TUNJA," June 1, 2003, Archivo Digital de Noticias de Colombia y el Mundo,
Alcaldía Mayor de Tunja, "El Templo del Topo,"
Club de Jardinería, Tunja, "VIRGEN DEL MILAGRO,"

Also commemorated this date:

Our Lady of Yankalilla, Yankalilla, South Australia, Australia. Image appeared on Anglican church wall, 1994.
Virgen María de La Bella, Arani, Arani, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Patronal fiesta.
Maria Laach, Andernach, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany (Mary Lake). Abbey church consecrated, 1156.
Our Lady of Grace, Chorao, Goa, India
Madonna di Pietralba, Bolzano, Bolzano-Bozen, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy. Pietà statue crowned, 1885.
Madonna di Loreto, Trentinara, Salerno, Campania, Italy. Festa. 
Madonna della Provvidenza, Montalbano Elicona, Messina, Sicily, Italy. Procession.
Matka Boża Myślenicka, Myślenice, Myślenice, Lesser Poland, Poland. Painting crowned, 1969, by Cardinal Wojtyła.
Matka Boża Przeczycka, Przeczyca, Subcarpathia, Poland. Statue crowned for the third time, 1975.
Virgen de Belén, Padrón, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, Iria Flavia district (Virgin of Bethlehem). Patron of mothers.
Virgen del Turruchel, Bienservida, Albacete, Castile-Leon, Spain. Patronal fiesta; statue goes from rural chapel to town church.
Virgen del Monte, Mogro, Miengo, Santander, Cantabria, Spain (Virgin of the Mount). Fiesta.
Nuestra Señora de la Coronada, Talarrubias, Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain (Our Lady of the Crowning)
Virgen de Las Viñas, Tomelloso, Ciudad Real, Castilla La Mancha, Spain. Patronal fiesta. Romería last Sunday in April.
Virgen de la Salud, Ucero, Soria, Castilla La Mancha, Spain (Virgin of Health). Romería.
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Kiev, Ukraine. Restored cathedral dedicated Aug. 24, 2000, at Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly