December 21

Virgen de la Paz, Trujillo, Venezuela

marian calendar     december

Around 1570, the story goes, a woman with distinctive features and a youthful glow began coming from the mountains in the afternoon to buy candles at a market in the Carmona district of Trujillo in western Venezuela. When some curious men asked her why she walked alone, she answered, "Not alone, but with God, the sun, and the stars." "Where are you from?" "From nearby." "How do you cross the full ravine, and who helps you?" "My sons, don't forget that I go with God, my protector." One day some townsfolk followed her and saw her disappear into a cleft in the rock. Then people noticed the rock sparkling and shining, and decided that the mysterious maiden was not someone from the community, but the Virgin Mary. The Virgin's Rock became a place of legend and devotion. Some said that it was the source of three rivers - one of water, one of blood, and one of milk - that the Holy Virgin held back from sweeping away the town. To this day, large numbers of pilgrims gather at the cueva, cave, to place votive offerings, recite rosaries, and sing hymns in thanks for favors granted, especially around the feast of Our Lady of Peace on January 24. On December 21, 1983, the President of Venezuela, Luis Herrera Campins, dedicated a monumental statue of the Virgin of Peace on the rock above the cave. Designed by architect Manuel de la Fuente, of concrete on a steel frame, the monument weighs 1,323 tons and stands 154 feet high, slightly taller than the Statue of Liberty. The Virgin extends one hand and holds a dove in the other. Visitors can go inside and ascend to five lookouts that survey nearly the entire state of Trujillo. In Trujillo Cathedral is a much older devotional statue of Our Lady of Peace, patron of Trujillo city and state. (Information from es.wikipedia.org and other sources. Picture from leonccsyv, www.panoramio.com.)   

Also commemorated this date:

Magna Mater Austriae, Mariazell, Austria (Great Mother of Austria). Monk started shrine in thanks for miracle, 1157. Feast Sept. 8.
Beata Vergine della Provvidenza, Piumazzo, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Oratorio blessed, 1817.
 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly