Our Lady of
(Nuestra Señora de los Treinta y Tres)
Patroness of Uruguay
Feast: the second Sunday of November
The small image of the Virgin of the Thirty
Three is a wood carving originating in the missions that the Jesuits had in
Paraguay during the 18th century. The image
was made in one of the Guaraní workshops that flourished in these famous
Around 1779 the image was placed in the chapel that the Jesuits looked after in
the village of Pintado and later, when the entire village moved to what is now
the city of Florida, the residents took with them the beloved image before which
their ancestors had prayed.
On April 19, 1825, thirty three orientals, Uruguayan patriots, landed on the
beaches of the Agraciada to commence the liberation of their country. When they
reached Florida, they went to the small church and placed the future of the new
nation at the feet of the Virgin. National Independence is proclaimed on August
25, and the members of the Constitutional Court having signed the Act of
Independence, present themselves again before the image and place their nascent
country under her protection.
Ever since, the natives have called this image "La Virgen de los Treinta y Tres"
(The Virgin of the Thirty-Three). On August 25, 1975, on the 150th anniversary
of its independence, the Uruguayan nation officially declared this image of the
Virgin and the church where it was venerated "Historic Monuments." The
Virgin of the Thirty Three is 36 centimeters high. It is a baroque carving of
the Assumption of the Virgin, whose cloak and robes seem to move becasue of
their many pleats.
Since 1857, "The Liberator of
Uruguay" has a gold crown with precious stones, a gift of the second leader of
the Thirty Three, who later became president of the Republic. The
disproportionate size of this crown - an extraordinary gold work - has become
the distinctive feature of this Marian image. The image was crowned canonically
in 1961 by a concession of His Holiness John XXIII, who the following year
proclaimed her officially "Patroness of Uruguay." The solemnity of "Our Lady of
the Thirty Three" is celebrated on the second Sunday of November with a
pilgrimage to her shrine from every part of the nation.
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