First Thursday in August

Virgen del Mar, Encinacorba, Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain

The story goes that sometime between 1515 and 1522, when the Ottoman Empire conquered Rhodes, some Knights Hospitaller sailing from Rhodes to Spain met with a terrible storm three days out. They prayed for help to Mary, Star of the Sea, and suddenly a statue of her appeared among the huge waves, going before them on a path of calm water, which they followed into port. (Recent sources posit that the image was aboard ship all along and became an object of devotion when the storm stopped after the knights prayed to Mary.) The knights drew lots for the statue, and the winner was Jorge de Sena, commander of the Order's fief at Encinacorba in Aragon. To house the image, the stone church of Santa Maria was built there, in massive but gracefully ornamented Mudejar style. The 22" Gothic statue, probably of the 1300s, is of alabaster (some say agate). With her right hand Mary holds an open book and with her left the Child, who holds a bird.  

The fiesta of the Virgin of the Sea is celebrated on the first Thursday in August. Festivities begin the day before and last until Monday. In addition to the procession of the Virgin down flower-decked streets, there are soccer games, a rodeo, and other amusements.


bulletChusé María Cebrián Muñoz, "Cuadernos 2 La Virgen del Mar," Cuadernos de Encinacorba,
bullet"Virgen del Mar de Encinacorba, España," (picture)
bulletEduardo Torra De Arana, Guía para visitar los santuarios marianos de Aragón, Ediciones Encuentro, Madrid, 1996

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly