The 58-year-old made his pilgrimage entirely on horseback. His journey lasted one week.
Just one verse each day.
Nearly 200 miles is the distance traveled by Argentine pilgrim Sergio Ariel Ozán, a construction worker, to reach the shrine of Our Lady of the Valley in the province of Catamarca, located in northwest Argentina. The 58-year-old worker made his pilgrimage entirely on horseback. His journey lasted one week at the beginning of November, and went without a hitch.
For this pilgrim, who’s passionate about horseback riding, this visit to the Virgin Mary is “more than a promise, is an homage in return for all the favors she has granted me,” he told ACI Prensa. “I’ve asked the Virgin for so many things, that if I had to thank her for each one, I don’t know how many trips on horseback I’d have to make,” he says. “I really wanted to get to know the Cathedral and see the Virgin before I died; it’s a desire I had for many years.”
Finally fulfilling this desire was very emotional for him, he told ACI Prensa reporter Julieta Villar.
Sergio has had this devotion to Our Lady of the Valley for many years. The church in his village, where he received his first sacraments, is also dedicated to this title of the Virgin Mary.
The shrine in question houses the statue of Our Lady of the Valley (“Nuestra Señora del Valle”), a title under which Our Lady is said to have granted many miracles. It was built in 1860 to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims who came to venerate Our Lady, making it one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Argentina. Among the miracles attributed to the Virgin are the healing of incurable diseases and protection against epidemics and plagues of insects.