October 12

Nossa Senhora Aparecida, Aparecida, Sao Paulo, Brazil

In 1953, the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil set October 12 as the feast day of the country's patron saint, Our Lady of Aparecida, to coincide with Columbus Day, which is also Children's Day in Brazil. In 1980, when Pope John Paul II was visiting, the Feast of Nossa Senhora Aparecida became a national holiday. 

It was in October of 1717 that Our Lady's statue "appeared" (aparecida) when a fisherman caught it in the Paraíba River. After fishing unsuccessfully for hours, João Alves netted first the body, then the head. Then all three men in the boat found their nets full of fish. Filipe Pedroso kept the statue in his home, where it gradually attracted devotion. Miracles proliferated, and in 1734 the local priest moved the image to a new hilltop chapel. 

It is believed that a friar in São Paulo, Agostino de Jesus, sculpted the image around 1650. Only 16" tall, the terracotta statue of Our Appeared Lady, burnished like wood to a rich brown color, wears an ultramarine cloak and a large golden crown. In 1904, the Catholic Church crowned her Queen and Patron of Brazil. 

Photo of Our Appeared Lady during the pre-feast novena, Oct. 8, 2007,  from the Sanctuary's site,
www.santuarionacional.com. Information also from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Aparecida.

Construction of the present basilica, second in size only to St. Peter's in Rome, was begun in 1954. Pope John Paul II consecrated it in 1980. Devotion to Nossa Senhora Aparecida, like the shrine itself, is huge. Many cities and some 300 churches in Brazil are named for her, and eight million pilgrims visit annually. 

Also commemorated this date:

bulletMary, Queen of All Hearts, Lestock, Saskatchewan, Canada. Church dedicated, 1949. Procession August 22.
bulletGyor Madonna, Loughrea, Ireland. Copy of Irish Madonna in Hungary presented to St. Brendan's Cathedral, 2003.
bulletMadonna della Pace, Albisola Superiore, Savona, Liguria, Italy. Apparition, 1482.
bulletOnze Lieve Vrouw van Binderen, Lelie onder de doornen, Helmond, North Brabant, Netherlands. Statue installed in new chapel, 1941.
bulletMatka Boża Różańcowa, Poznań, Greater Poland, Poland. Icon crowned, 1968.
bulletYaroslavl-Smolensk Mother of God, Yaroslavl, Russia (Sept. 29 old calendar)
bulletVirgen del Pilar, Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain
bulletVerge Blanca, Lleida, Lleida, Catalonia, Spain, Mare de Déu de l'Acadèmia (White Virgin or Academy Mother of God). Marian Academy founded, 1862. Literary competition held in Mary's honor on the first Sunday of October.
bulletNuestra Señora de Las Cruces, Don Benito, Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain
bulletVirgen de la Teja, Villarrobledo, Albacete, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain (Virgin of the Tile)

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly