A certain widow María Saínz de Quijano while reciting the rosary and at the same time keeping her flock on Mount Hedilla, the Virgin appeared to her on May 23, 1575.
“With such splendor that I dared not look at Her Majesty, She told me that I had to ask the local parish priest to build a chapel in that point and put up an image of Our Lady of Grace and one of St. Lawrence. “
On the woman’s objection that the people would not believe her, the Virgin replied that she herself will make them believe. When the woman started to get up, she discovered that she couldn’t, and stayed there, calling her daughter Juana. Some neighbors found Juana carrying her mother home upon her shoulders. María then asked her daughter to call the local priest. Maria narrated what had happened to the priest. The priest conveyed the story to his superior, the vicar of the area, who discarded him with a jest, saying that the shepherdess must have dreamed all this.
A few days later the vicar crossed that place with his servant, who said: “Master, they say that the Virgin has recently appeared to a woman in this place”. The vicar laughed again and suddenly went blind. After the servant took him home. With fear and remorse, the vicar dictated a letter to the archbishop, asking him to order the construction of the chapel so that he could regain his sight.
The archbishop ordered the workers to start cutting and collecting wood for the construction. They cut some high up on the mountain and some at the bottom, around the site of the apparition. But they could not move the wood from the heights, although they easily moved it from the lower site. A particular sign that the Madonna guides the work of her sanctuary. Carmen González Echegaray, citing the documents in the National Archives of Spain, does not say whether the seer and the vicar have recovered, but presumably they were among the first to receive the graces of the Virgin of Aés.
The chapel has been rebuilt and renovated several times over the centuries, most recently in 1993. An annual pilgrimage to the mountain sanctuary is celebrated every May 23, the anniversary of the apparitions which attracts participants from all over the valley.
María del Carmen González Echegaray, Guía para visitar los santuarios marianos de Cantabria, Ediciones Encuentro, Madrid, 1993
“PATRIMONIO”, Puente Viesgo, www.puenteviesgo.es (immagine)