The story behind the celebration
+ The statue of the Mary Immaculate honored under as the Vergin de Luján was made in Brazil and sent to Argentina in the seventeenth century.
+ According to legend, a settler ordered the terracotta statue in the hope of creating a shrine to help reignite the faith of the people of his region.
+ The caravan carrying the statue stopped in the town of Zelaya, but when the caravan leader tried to continue the journey, the oxen refused to move. It was only when the crate containing the statue was removed from the cart that the animals began to walk. The local people saw this as a sign of heavenly intervention and built a simple chapel for the image.
+ The historic statue is now enshrined in a Basilica of Our Lady of Luján in the town of Luján, Argentina.
+ In 1886, Pope Leo XIII recognized the miraculous image through the ceremony of canonical coronation. The crown blessed by the pope was placed on the statue on May 8, 1887.
+ In 1930, Pope Pius XI formally declared Our Lady of Luján as the patroness and protector of Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
For prayer and reflection
“Blessed are you, O Mary, for the world’s salvation came forth from you; now in glory, you rejoice for ever with the Lord. Intercede for us with your Son.”—Antiphon from Morning Prayer of the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Liturgy of the Hours
Father, you gave the human race eternal salvation through the motherhood of the Virgin Mary. May we experience the help of her prayers in our lives, for through her we received the very source of life, your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Liturgy of the Hours: Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.