November 30

Virgen de la Concepción, San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, Mexico

Fray Miguel de Bolonia, of the Spanish Netherlands, was one of the first Franciscans to enter Mexico in 1524. A saintly missionary who learned the native languages and stood up for natives when Spanish rulers threatened them, he traveled through Mexico, teaching and building until his death in 1580. In 1542, he founded the village of San Juan Bautista de Mezquititlán (land of mesquite trees), where he built a hospital and chapel, in which he placed a 20" statue of Mary Immaculate. 

In 1623, some trapeze artists brought the the body of their daughter to the San Juan chapel for burial. The young acrobat had fallen during practice onto some upright blades sticking up from the ground to make the show more thrilling. The chapel caretaker, an old woman named Ana Lucia, put the Virgin's statue on the girl's breast, and the child revived. The grateful father took the fragile statue, made of cornstalks and glue, to Guadalajara for restoration. From then on the shrine's fame and miracles multiplied. Meanwhile, the town grew, changing its name to San Juan de los Lagos (St. John of the Lakes). A new church was built, and then another--each larger, more splendid, more worthy of the Immaculate Virgin. On November 30, 1769, the statue was installed in the third church. 

San Juan de los Lagos began holding a market fair in commemoration, annually around November 30, with festivities extending to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8. The celebration eventually became so rowdy that the hierarchy decided to move the feast of the Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos to February 2 (Candlemas). The Candelaria fiesta has evolved into a month-long, mass pilgrimage to the shrine from all over Mexico, but December 8 is still observed, as well as August 15 (Feast of the Assumption). The statue was canonically crowned August 15, 1904.   

Also commemorated this date:

bulletSt. Mary of Zion, Axum, Mehakelegnaw, Tigray, Ethiopia. Pilgrimage festival celebrates shrine's founding and Ark of the Covenant.
bulletPalaiologina, Mt. Athos, Macedonia, Greece, in Osiou Gregoriou monastery. Icon remained intact after fire Nov. 30, 1761.
bulletMadonna Nera, Tresivio, Sondrio, Lombardy, Italy. First stone of sanctuary placed, 1646.
bulletNuestra Señora del Alcázar, Baeza, Jaén, Andalucía, Spain. Baeza reconquered and statue dug up, 1227; feast now Aug. 15.

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly