Our Lady of Coromoto
(Nuestra Señora de Coromoto)
Each Latin American country has a
special image of the Virgin Mary it venerates as its national patron saint.
These images of Our Lady are venerated with a deep love tied closely to national
identity, and the traditions and legends that have arisen around these images
often reflect the historical journeys, sorrows and the hopes of the Latin
American people. The patron saint of Venezuela is the Virgin of Coromoto.
Impressed by what he has seen and heard, the chief decided to obey the beautiful lady and led his tribe to be schooled in the Christian religion. But the Indian, used to the freedom of the forests, cannot become accustomed to the new way of life and he returns to his village with his family. The lady appeared again, this time at the Indian's humble hut. Although the Virgin presented herself surrounded by a luminous aura, whose rays filled the hut with fire, she did not succeed in moving the chief, who, annoyed, tried to throw her out and even took his weapons in hand with the intention of threatening the inopportune lady. When he stretched out his hand angrily to catch her, she disappeared before his eyes. A small holy card, where the image of the Lady was printed, was left in the Coromoto Indian's closed fist.
The Virgin of Coromoto is a tiny relic that measures 27 milimeters high
and 22 wide. The holy card's material could be parchment or tissue paper. The
Virgin is painted seated, and on her lap sits the Child Jesus. It seems to have
been drawn with a fine pen, sketched as a portrait done in India ink with dots
and dashes. The Virgin and Child are looking straight ahead; their heads erect
with royal crowns upon them. The back of the throne which supports them has two
columns joined together by an arch. The Virgin's shoulders are covered by a
crimson cloak with dark purple reflections, and a white veil falls symmetrically
over her hair. She wears a straw colored tunic and the Child a white one. The
image is kept inside a richly adorned monstrance where it is presented for the
veneration of the faithful. At the request of the nation's bishops, on October
7, 1944 Pius XII declared her "Patroness of the Republic of Venezuela" and her
canonical coronation was celebrated on the third centenary of her apparition, on
September 11, 1952. His Eminence Cardinal Manuel Arteaga Betancourt, Archbishop
of Havana, representing Pope Pius XII, crowned the sacred image of Our Lady of
Coromoto. The Venezuelans celebrate their patroness each year on three different
occasions: on February 2 and September 8 and 11. The National Sanctuary of the
Virgin of Coromoto, meeting place of great pilgrimages, was declared a Basilica
by Pope Pius XII on May 24, 1949.
- Foundation Marypages -