Mary of the Day (July 19) – Nuestra Señora del Milagro (Our Lady of the Miracle), Lima, Peru
The Franciscan friars who accompanied the Conquest to Peru hung an image of the Immaculate Conception over the door of their first church in Lima. On missionary journeys around the region, they would take the image, “La Misionera,” with them. They were in Cusco, the Inca capital, on May 23, 1536 when, during the rebellion of Manco Inca against the two-year Spanish regime, natives trapped many Spaniards in a hut and set fire to the straw roof. La Misionera was seen by all to leave her place inside and to appear above the burning building together with Santiago (St. James the Greater). The fire ceased, and all were saved. In honor of this event, the Spanish built the Church of the Triumph, now an adjunct of the Cusco cathedral. Back in Lima, after the Franciscans surrounded the little chapel with a big monastery complex, the image over the door was gradually forgotten. By the 1600s, it had one regular devotee, a poor woman. One day she heard the Virgin speak: “You alone, daughter, among all the people here, visit me and pray to me. One day I will repay you.” After the woman told saintly Brother Juan Gomez, he often remarked, “Lima does not recognize the great good it has in this miraculous image, but soon it will know.”
On November 27, 1630, when most of the people of Lima were attending a bullfight in the main plaza, a violent earthquake struck the city. All were terrified, for it seemed certain that they would perish. But those near the Franciscan Church saw the image of Our Lady turn in the direction of the Blessed Sacrament, with her hands held in suppliant gesture. Abruptly, the earthquake stopped.
Several hours later, when the Franciscan community had gathered before the miraculous image to give thanks, the prodigy was renewed. The statue turned again to its former position, smiling graciously.
Now called “Our Lady of the Miracle,” the statue was given a magnificent new church. In 1835, the church burned down. Only the statue remained intact. On June 19, 1953, the papal nuncio crowned the miraculous statue. The feast of Our Lady of the Miracle is on November 27, anniversary of the 1630 earthquake.