Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 18 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Maria Anna Blondin
home iconNews
line break icon

Argentina to construct 400 grottoes to honor the Blessed Mother

David McTavish - Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 02/10/20

2020 is the 400th anniversary of the discovery of "Our Lady of the Valley" and the 500th anniversary of the first Argentinian Catholic Mass.

The parishes of the Argentinian province of Catamarca are uniting in 2020 to create 400 shrines dedicated to the Virgin Mary in honor of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of a statue of the Blessed Mother, which inspired thousands of Catholic devotions in the South American nation.

The story, as told by Welcome Argentina, an informational website geared towards tourism, goes that between 1618 and 1620 an unnamed Argentinian native in the service of Manuel Salazar witnessed a group of women in a procession into the forest. The man thought little of the occurrence at the time, but the following day he felt guided to follow their footprints, which he found to be still visible in the soil.

He traced their steps for miles until he came to a shallow stone recess which led him to find the statue of Mary, styled with tan skin to resemble the native Argentinians, and with her hands held up in prayer. The discovery was kept secret at first, but as the man grew to admire and venerate the statue, he revealed its existence to Salazar, who quickly went to retrieve it so that it could be presented to the public.

The statue and story grew in popularity, until thousands in the region were making pilgrimages to visit the statue, which was eventually recognized by the Church. In 1974, the image of Mary with light-brown skin was adopted as the Patron Saint of Argentina’s Tourism, under the moniker “Our Lady of the Valley.”

Over the 400 years since “Our Lady of the Valley” was discovered, she has been credited with many miracles, including the healing of terminal illnesses, blindness, and paralysis. She is also considered to have saved the region from infestations of locusts and worms.

In honor of the fourth centennial anniversary of “Our Lady of the Valley,” Argentina’s Catholic Bishops have announced 2020 to be a National Marian Year. Catholic News Agency reports that the celebrations will last from December 8, 2019 until December 8th, 2020. They also note that this year is especially significant to Argentina, as it marks 500 years since the first Catholic Mass was celebrated on their soil.

The idea for the construction of 400 Marian shrines came from the Our Lady of the Rosary parish, but Bishop Luis Urbane of Catamarca championed the endeavor and organized it to become a regional effort, bringing in about 30 other parishes to help out. Each parish is expected to construct 13 grottoes over the course of 2020.

Their good works have already seen the first grotto completed. It was blessed on January 30, in the hamlet of Laguna Blanca.

Tags:
ArgentinaCatholicDevotions and FeastsVirgin Mary
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
LOREN SCHAUERS
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
3
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
4
MASS
Philip Kosloski
5 Essential things used at Mass and their symbolism
5
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for strength
7
HOLY SEPULCHRE CROSSES
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.