Venezuela is a Catholic country par excellence and its devotion to the Virgin Mary under different advocations is present. Throughout the year important celebrations such as the Divine Shepherdess, The Virgin of Coromoto and the Virgin of the Valley are held to name a few.
These celebrations are one of the most important for parishioners and the one that begins the year is the Divine Shepherdess.
The great devotion of Venezuelans to the Divine Shepherdess is celebrated on January 14 in Barquisimeto. Thousands of Venezuelans from all parts of the country are concentrated in this city in order to pay promises and favors received.
Origins of the Marian invocation of the Divine Pastora
The Virgin seen as a shepherdess dates from the 10th century approximately. This devotion comes from Seville, Spain.
In 1703, Fray Isidoro of Seville received a vision in one of his dreams in which the Virgin Mary appeared.
This was a very unique vision of the Virgin:
“… In a country landscape, surrounded by trees and sheep, dressed in a purple robe, a blue blanket and carrying in his hand a pastoral staff, and at his side a menacing wolf hidden among the bushes, representing the stalks of the devil”
This Capuchin monk was surprised by the beauty of this image. Then he went to visit the famous artist, Alonso Miguel de Tovar and asked him to illustrate the description of the beautiful dream.
The first time the image was released to the public was September 8, 1703. The Virgin left the church of San Gil on a pilgrimage that walked the streets of Seville.
In the event they sang a rosary. The virgin in her invocation of Shepherdess was praised by the parishioners on a very special day.
From there, a great Marian devotion descended from the Capuchin missionaries began. In this sense, these men were responsible for spreading the image of the Divine Shepherdess in Europe and America.
Subsequently, the artist Francisco Ruiz Gijón, carved the life-size image of the Divine Shepherdess. Then in 1705, the effigy was taken to its first procession in Spain.
Location of the image of the Divine Shepherdess
The Virgin of the Divine Shepherdess, is the Patron of the Lara state. This work of art is located in the church of Santa Rosa, a town near Barquisimeto.
Venezuelans have great devotion and their way of expressing gratitude to this dear Virgin is very unique. In this sense the faithful give him hats and costumes of precious fabrics
It should be noted that these beautiful costumes are often made by famous fashion designers. That is why many people say the following:
“There is no woman in Venezuela who has a more luxurious wardrobe than that of the Divine Shepherdess”
The Divine Shepherdess has the privilege of having beautiful dresses that her faithful give her with great love.
History of the great devotion of Venezuelans to the Divine Shepherdess
It is in the year 1736 when the beautiful story of the patron saint of Larenses begins. In that year the priest made a commission of a sculpture alluding to the Immaculate Conception, however it came was the image of the Divine Shepherdess.
Since that was not the request the priest wanted to change it, which was not successful.
As the drawer where the Divine Shepherdess remained had an incredible weight, the inhabitants saw a sign and this virgin arrived to stay in the town of Santa Rosa.
Then in 1812 an earthquake occurs, consequently, the temple where the Divine Shepherdess was venerated was destroyed. However, the image was miraculously intact. This event strengthened the faith of the inhabitants of the town of Santa Rosa. In this sense, the perception that the Virgin wanted to stay with and protect them gained strength.
Today it is an entire country that goes to honor the Divine Shepherdess, to give thanks and to ask for favors.
The great devotion of Venezuelans to the Divine Shepherdess: a massive event
In the mid-nineteenth century the great devotion of Venezuelans to the Divine Shepherdess was fixed. This occurs as a result of a cholera epidemic that spread in 1855.
This is why many families in Lara state were very affected by this lethal disease. Given the situation, there was no effect on medications or remedies at all.
Ultimately the inhabitants resort to take out in procession through the streets of the city the sculpture of the Divine Shepherdess. This was done in order to implore his mercy, which was granted,
The effect was a miracle since as of that same day, the cholera epidemic ceased.
To maintain that legacy every year on January 14, the image of the Divine Shepherdess is carried. In this sense a massive procession and full of faith takes place.
The Divine Shepherdess is taken to the Barquisimeto Cathedral from her church in Santa Rosa.
This manifestation of faith is considered the second most important in Latin America. Being surpassed by that of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico.
Visit to the image of the Divine Shepherdess in Lara state
At the beginning of the year, a special celebration is held on January 14 to honor the Divine Shepherdess. In this sense, parishioners carry the sculpture from the sanctuary of Santa Rosa to the Barquisimeto Cathedral
The distance traveled in this event is approximately 7.5 kilometers.
It begins with the last mass held on the outskirts of the temple of Santa Rosa.
This event of the catholic church crosses several places of the city passing through Lara Avenue, Morán Avenue, and its arrival to Venezuela Avenue. There a mass is celebrated and they sing to him, they present cultural and musical acts that fulfill an event full of faith towards the Virgin
In 2016, approximately four million people attended the pilgrimage of both Venezuela and the rest of the world.
The special way in which the great devotion of Venezuelans to the Divine Shepherdess is expressed is by giving them very unique and beautiful hats and costumes.
As if that were not enough, the Divine Shepherdess has an Archdiocesan Museum. In this space you can see the following:
- The replica (known as “pilgrim image”).
- Dresses used by the image and the child, which are rotated frequently.
- Hats, canes or staff, shoes, jewelry, crowns.
- In addition, Rosaries, Paintings, Decorations granted to the virgin.
- Promises and miracles embodied in plaques.
- Pictures of great recognized artists.
The divine shepherdess, faith that moves mountains
The great devotion of Venezuelans to the Divine Shepherdess, is a sample of the faith they have. A faith that gives Venezuelans strength to move forward.
This procession gets stronger every year, and we continue to pray and ask for protection for the entire Venezuelan people.
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