Monday, December 8, 2014

con flores a María

Today’s feast of the Immaculate Conception marks the end of the Month of Mary in Chile.  In case you missed it, here’s a link to my post describing what I learned about the celebration down under.

Michael and I were blessed to be in Santiago de Chile when the Month of Mary began, and we serendipitously stumbled upon Marian celebrations at two special places there. That’s what I like to call God’s sense of humor.

At the famous statue of Mary on the Cerro San Cristóbal, which overlooks the city of Santiago, dozens of musical groups dressed in traditional clothes took turns dancing and processing in honor of Our Lady.

by Mary's statue, pilgrims leave their prayer intentions and light candles

Here are two videos I took with my phone that day:

We also learned about a new-to-me Marian devotion under the name “La Purísima” when we stopped at the Santuario de la Virgen de lo Vasquez–located roughly halfway between the capital of Santiago and the seaport city of Valparaiso. 

The pilgrimage site at Lo Vasquez must have been packed today as hundreds gathered to celebrate in festival-style the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the culmination of the Month of Mary.

Hermana Juana, one of the shrine’s pastoral team of ministers assisting pilgrims at the Sanctuary daily, was kind enough to tell me the story of the image:  found by a local peasant in the nearby hills in the early 1800s, and blessed by the financial and moral support of the local landowner who built the original shrine. 

It never ceases to amaze me how throughout history and across the globe, Our Lady consistently chooses to bring her presence to the lowliest, the poorest, the most humble of her children—and always with the message, “I am your Mother.

Con flores a María, traditional Marian song
Venid y vamos todos con flores a porfía, con flores a María, que Madre nuestra es con flores a María, que Madre nuestra es. 
De nuevo aquí nos tienes, purísima doncella, más que la luna, bella, postrados a tus pies.  
Venimos a ofrecerte las flores de este suelo, con cuánto amor y anhelo, Señora, tú lo ves.  
Por ellas te rogamos, si cándidas te placen, las que en la gloria nacen, en cambio, tú nos des.