Our Lady of the Day (3rd Saturday after Easter) – The Virgin of Luján (Mother of the poor and humble), Buenos Aires, Argentina
The tradition on the devotion of Our Lady tells that Antonio Farías Sáa, a farmer from Santiago del Estero, in the second decade of 1600 wanted to build a devotional altar in his home. For this reason he ordered a statue depicting the Immaculate Conception of Mary in São Paulo, Brazil.
Around 1630 a caravel reached the port of Buenos Aires. A sailor led it from Brazil with two terracotta figurines: one depicting “Our Lady of Consolation”, the other representing the “Immaculate Conception”. The statuettes were intended for a Portuguese who lived in Sumampa.
After three days of travel, the caravan bound for Tucumán reaches Rio Luján, where it spent the night on a farm about 67 km from Buenos Aires. At dawn, the carters arranged themselves to resume their journey, but the cart carrying the statue was unable to move forward despite the addition of other oxen for towing.
Then, they pull the boxes down, and the wagons move effortlessly. They repeat this operation several times and realize that only in the presence of a crate does the wagon would not move. They open the chest to see its contents: there is a small 58 cm statue depicting the Immaculate Conception.
Maria is dressed in a red tunic and a blue cloak sown with stars, her hands together on her chest and her feet rest on clouds, between which the moon and four little angels’ heads emerge. God’s plan is now clear! The statue was delivered to Don Rosendo de Oramas who placed it with all the honors in his home.
Soon pilgrims from nearby areas came to venerate the miraculous image. Don Rosendo decided to build the chapel where the statue was kept from 1630 until 1674 and where Mary was called with the title of “Estanciera” and “Patroncita Morena”.
In 1674 Ana de Matos, widow of the Spanish captain Marcos de Sequeira and owner of some belongings on the right bank of the Luján, regretted for the neglect in which the chapel of the Virgin was reduced and noted the lack of interest by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. He asked Juan de Oramas, administrator of the properties of the late Don Rosendo, if he could take care of the statue of the Virgin, ensuring the construction on his property a dignified chapel and rooms for the reception of pilgrims.
After the transfer of the statue to the new chapel built on the possessions of Ana de Matos, unexplained continuous returns of the statue to the place where the miracle occurred in 1630, not until the bishop of Buenos Aires Cristóbal de Mancha y Velazco, and the governor of Rio de la Plata José Martínez de Salazar did organize a solemn and official transfer of the simulacrum to the new chapel.
The chapel was rebuilt several times because of the increasing number of pilgrims who went to Luján, until, in 1890, Father Jorge María Salvaire began construction in the current Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Luján.
The same Father Salvaire had submitted to Pope Leo XIII in 1886 the request from the Bishops and faithful of the Rio de la Plata to grant the coronation of the simulacrum of the Virgin. The Pope consented by blessing the crown himself and granting his own Office and Mass for the feast of the Virgin of Luján which was established on the Saturday before the fourth Sunday after Easter. The coronation of the statue was celebrated in May 1887.
Today there is no place in Argentina, in houses, stations, public offices, where the characteristic image of Our Lady of Luján is not present; evident sign of the spread of the cult and the deep devotion of the Argentine people to the Mother of Jesus.
Ufficial website of the sanctuary – https://www.santuariodelujan.com.ar/.