Our Lady of the
Miracles of Caacupé
(Nuestra Señora de Caacupé)
Patroness of Paraguay
Feast: December 8
Paraguay is a Catholic nation. The faith is deeply rooted in the fiber of the
people. There is great devotion to the Blessed Virgin under her title of "Our
Lady of Caacupe."
In the early 16th century, a "guarani" converted Guaraní Indian of the Franciscan mission
of Tobati is in danger of death. He is surrounded by the fierce Mbayáes, a tribe
that has refused to accept the Christian faith and has declared itself an all
out enemy of the converts. In the forest thickness, a massive tree trunk provides safe
refuge. He hides there, cringing and trembling; he asks for protection from his
Mother in Heaven, the Immaculate that the good friars have taught him to love.
There he promises the Virgin that if he survives, he will carve a pretty image
from the wood of the protective trunk. Nobody saw him, his
persecutors went by without discovering his presence, and as soon as he could
the Indian sculptor went back and took from the tree the wood he needed for his
work. Two images came out of the trunk; the larger one went to the church of
Tobati, and the Indian kept the smaller one for his personal devotion.
In 1603 the Tapaicuá Lake
overflowed and it flooded the whole Pirayú valley razing
everything in its way, including the Virgin's image. However
when the waters went away the Virgin's image made by the Indian
reappeared. The residents began to diffuse their devotion and
started invoking it as the "Virgin of the Miracles." A devote
neighbor, who was a carpenter, made a modest hermitage to keep
the image and there the Virgin of Caacupé began receiving
pilgrims. Every December 8th the celebration of Santa María de Caacupé takes
place and pilgrims arrive in thousands to the Shrine to show their love and
gratitude to the "Blue Virgin of Paraguay." Our Lady of Caacupé is a handsome wood carving with a delicate oval face and
blue eyes; like the lmmaculate she joins her hands on her breast in prayer and
her blond hair falls to her shoulders. The small image measures some 50
For a time, in order to give her more prominence and cover her with rich
garments, her figure was enlarged disproportionately, until Church authorities
decreed that the image be given its original size. The Virgin of the Miracles
wears an elegant white tunic and has a beautiful sky blue cloak over her
shoulders, both embroidered with gold thread. The image stands on a sphere
resting on a large half moon. Mary's feet seem to step on a serpent, an allusion
to Genesis and Apocalyptic texts.
Construction of the present church began in 1945, and although it has not been
completed yet, it has been the sanctuary of the Virgin of the Miracles of
Caacupé since 1980.
Caacupé is the religious center of Paraguay: the meeting place of the nation and
the Church, because this blessed image has accompanied the formation process of
the Paraguayan nationality.
Every 8th of December, the great feast of "Maria de Caacupé", thousands of
pilgrims congregate at the Virgin's sanctuary; they come walking, on bicycles or
however they can, to show their love and gratitude to their Mother, the "Virgen
Azul de Paraguay" (the Blue Virgin of Paraguay).
Lady of the Miracles of Caacupé, sometimes I am afraid to confess
my faith, because I fear my classmates or friends will laugh at me, or
ostracize me. Help me to stand up for what I believe without fear. Give
me your help to help others to reach their own freedom and dignity.
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