Our Lady of the Day (July 19) – Our Lady of the Miracle (Nuestra Señora del Milagro), Lima, Peru
The Franciscan friars who accompanied the conquest in Peru hung an image of the Immaculate Conception on the door of their first church in Lima. During their missionary trips to the region, the friars would bring the image, “La Misionera” – (The Lady Missionary), with them. They were in Cusco, the capital of the Inca, on May 23, 1536 when, during the Manco Inca rebellion against the two-year Spanish regime, the natives trapped many Spaniards in a hut and set fire to the thatched roof. The Misionera was seen by everyone leaving its place inside and appearing above the burning building together with Santiago (Saint James the Greater).
The fire stopped and everyone was saved. In honor of this event, the Spaniards built the Church of the Triumph, an addition to the cathedral of Cusco. Back in Lima, after the Franciscans surrounded the small chapel with a large monastic complex, the image above the door was gradually forgotten. Her popularity declined, but some privileged souls like Saint Francis Solano and the venerable Fray Juan Gomez continued to pray with devotion. Just the latter prophesied that the time of redemption for the sweet Lady of the Christians and the devotion would be restarted.
From 1600, Mary had a 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 reward you”.
After the woman told to the holy brother Juan Gomez, he often observed:
“Lima does not recognize the great good this miraculous image has, but it will recognize soon “.
On November 27, 1630, when most of the population of Lima was attending a bullfight in the main square, a violent earthquake struck the city. Confusion and panic were in everyone’s eyes, but some religious and faithful gathered in the Franciscan atrium, turning their gaze to the arch under which the Virgin Mary was placed. With amazement they realize that the image transformed by leaning herself towards the altar with folded hands as if to implore forgiveness and mercy to Her Divine Son present in the Tabernacle. At that point everyone understands that, thanks to the patronage of Mary, the city had been saved from ruin.
The witnesses of the miracle prepared to make it known to everyone, and in the same evening after the Vespers, the Friars Minor knelt in front of the venerated image to intone the antiphon “Tota Pulchra est Maria” (You are all beautiful, O Mary). To the amazement of everyone the statue resumed its original position in front of all those believers, curious or doubtful who were gazing at her. Our Lady always remaining with a sweet, smiling face and grateful to those who invoked Her holy name. The fact has been confirmed and recorded and the miracle of November 27 is celebrated every year.
On July 19, 1953, the sacred image was transferred to the Cathedral and crowned with gold.
Now called “Our Lady of the Miracle”, the statue was given a magnificent new church. In 1835, the church was 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 falls on November 27, the anniversary of the 1630 earthquake.
Today, unfortunately, the Nuestra Señora de Milagro seems to have fallen back into oblivion and indifference of many Limeños and provincials who inhabit the vast city. But, as in times of Fray Juan Gomez, we believe that the city is waiting for a general recovery of Marian faith and piety.
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF MIRACLE
today I place myself
under your very special maternal protection.
Please protect me from all evil, spiritual or temporal.
Since you are Mother of Jesus
and Bride of the Holy Spirit,
please pray for me
and for me to obtain special favors
that I am asking to you in this moment.
I offer you my heart, dear Mother.
Let me be sincere and humble
before your Son Jesus,
to finally come
to the eternal joy of heaven.