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La Divina Pastora (Santa Rosa, Lara, Venezuela)

Commemorated on January 14
La Divina Pastora (Santa Rosa, Lara, Venezuela)
Around 1736, the pastor of Santa Rosa Catholic Church, in the town of the same name in central Venezuela, ordered a statue of the Immaculate Conception, but instead got a Holy Shepherdess statue ordered by the pastor of a church in nearby Barquisimeto. He immediately tried to send the statue on to its rightful destination, but it suddenly became so heavy no one could move it. And so Santa Rosa kept the Divina Pastora, now the patron saint of the state of Lara. On January 14, 1855, the statue was carried in procession during a cholera epidemic, which ended that same day. Since then, every January 14 a team of men carry the statues of the Holy Shepherdess, Child Jesus and sheep in a large processional shrine from the Basilica in Santa Rosa to the Barquismeto cathedral, accompanied by millions of pilgrims, some barefoot. (Picture of statue in 2005 procession from Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado,  


In 1703 Isidore received a revelation in a dream of the Virgin Mary with a shepherdess hat, blue coat, a lamb and the child in her arms.
By 1720 the Capuchins lead the invocation to the Venezuelan region and by 1736 began his veneration.
And have been so many miracles are attributed, January 14 that the largest procession in Barquisimeto Venezuela all is done to honor ... 
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Capuchin missionaries arrived in the eastern coast of Venezuela in 1650. To give greater territorial reach catechizing Indians raided the plains of Caracas to the midwestern founding peoples. One of them, named Santa Rosa del Cerrito, was founded in 1673 in the vicinity of Nueva Segovia de Barquisimeto, a city that had been founded by Juan de Villegas in 1552.
The people of Santa Rosa del Cerrito as part of the evangelizing work who advanced the capuchin, was born about 1720 an image of the Virgin Mary under the title of Divina Pastora.
Devotion to the Divine Shepherdess inseparable from the Capuchins, and had its beginning in a missionary sense, hence the members of the order who arrived in America during the eighteenth century, were the first speakers of the invocation between indigenous populations infidels reduction pathways and subjugation.
This dedication comes from Sevilla (Spain). A Capuchin named Isidore, priest received a revelation in one of his dreams in 1703. It was the image of the Divina Pastora. Days later, gave the artist Miguel Alonso de Tovar, a detailed description of your vision for it to conduct a box. The image of the virgin with pastoral hat, covered by a blue mantle, holding in his left hand supporting the child and the right of a lamb, was called "Divina Pastora de Almas".
This view was taken to a canvas and a banner that was taken for the first time publicly in a procession through the streets of Seville on September 8.
Years later, the sculptor Francisco Antonio Gijón, sculpted life-size image of the Divina Pastora.
The beginning of the veneration of Divina Pastora in Venezuela dates back to 1736, when the parish priest of Santa Rosa commissioned a famous sculptor to make a statue of the Immaculate Conception. However, by a strange mistake, instead of the Immaculate came to town the image of the Divina Pastora.
Immediately the pastor wanted to return, but as much as they tried, they could not lift the drawer where he had placed the image. From this time the population interpreted this rare event as a sign that the Divine Shepherd wanted to stay among them being this his headquarters to this day.
However there is evidence pointing to the fact that long before the arrival of Father Bernal in 1736 to Santa Rosa and the image was there as it had been acquired between 1715 and 1724. Brother Nectario Mary (1888-1986) thought that the image of the Divina Pastora was acquired between 1779 and 1792, but an investigation of Matilde Suarez and Carmen Bethecourt fixing date of this event between 1715 and 1724.
Later, during the events of the 1812 earthquake, the temple where the Divina Pastora was destroyed was venerated, but his image was miraculously intact, a fact reinforced the belief of the faithful of Santa Rosa that the Virgin wanted to always stay between them to protect .
Finally, the mid-nineteenth century, an event that would contribute to the final consolidation of the Divina Pastora as the patron of Lara state took place.
In September 1854 cholera came to Venezuela entering the island of Margarita. By December 1854 the cholera epidemic raging in Barquisimeto. many families Barquisimeto were decimated by the terrible evil, before which were completely useless medicines, cries and prayers. desperation and as a last resort, the villagers decided to take in procession through the streets Barquisimeto image of the Divina Pastora to implore his mercy.
Father Jose Macario Yepez, pastor of the church barquisimetana Conception on January 14, 1855, from the pulpit offered as cholera victim if evil ceased in the city. Six months later, the priest contracted cholera and died, finishing the epidemic in Barquisimeto.
Therefore, on January 14 was taken as the day of the Divina Pastora, performing the first procession on January 14, 1856. Nowadays, the procession goes from Santa Rosa to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Barquisimeto and has become the busiest of Venezuela.


La Divina Pastora de Santa Rosa is an image of clothing, articulated, carved in wood. The face, hands and feet are covered with plaster and joints fastened with nails.
Through the years it has undergone several restorations, but the original structure has not been modified. Initially devotion to that image by the congregation of the people, was to offer Mass, light candles and pray prayers as usual with the rest of the images that were part of the heritage of the church.
Sebastian Bernal, pastor of Santa Rosa del Cerrito for a little more than half a century (1736-1794), had a special zeal for the Divina Pastora that not only had his personal pocket to cover costs of clothing and jewelry to embellish the image but before his death made him bequest of most of its goods (Caracas Archbishop File 1794).
The larenses venerate with special affection and devotion, giving him hats and costumes precious fabrics, some of them commissioned from the most famous designers in the world, which is why many people say that there are no women in Venezuela have a more luxurious clothing that that of the Divina Pastora.


La Divina Pastora takes place on the high altar of the Church of Santa Rosa, near Barquisimeto people , but it was not always so. In 1779 occupied the Epistle side (right side) as Bishop Mariano Martí tells the relationship of his pastoral visit to Santa Rosa.
According to tradition, the 1812 earthquake, which toppled the Santa Rosa, but could not do the same with the walls and roof that protected the image of the Divina Pastora.
A chapel was improvised and it was until 1850 when Fr. José Macario Yepez moved it to another temporary chapel arranged on the ruins of the Church of Santa Rosa, finally rebuilt in 1864 when she was placed in the Virgin on 30 August of that same year.
In the district of La Pastora Caracas was constructed in 1745 also a temple dedicated to the worship of the Virgin.
We know of people asking for the healing of your pets and the day of the procession dress their cats and dogs in costume Pastora. In the adjacent church of Santa Rosa museum are tokens of acknowledgment, like pieces of silver figures arms, legs or goods that left people cured of any wrong or they got home.
Military uniforms, balls and utensils Cardinals team are also on display, among other objects.

In memory of the miracle, every January 14 is a procession in honor of the Divina Pastora. Sale from the town of Santa Rosa and walk to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Barquisimeto. And since 14 January until Palm Sunday (before Easter), the image of the Divina Pastora wanders the 44 temples of the Lara state.
It has become the biggest of Venezuela. Currently many foreign visitors come to the party that day of the Divina Pastora.
The procession of the Virgin of barquisimetanos, larenses and all Venezuelans is a manifestation of love, unity, equality and solidarity. A look of noble sentiments that this year brings together more than 2 million devotees .
As of Saturday January 13 believers perform a preparatory vigil for pilgrimage in the church of Santa Rosa. Since January 14, five Masses are celebrated before heading to the Virgin Cathedral of Barquisimeto, which start at five in the morning.
Later, after the procession began, the Divina Pastora runs a traditional route (Santa Rosa, Avenida Lara, Square Macario Yepez, Moran Avenue and Avenida Venezuela) which have different religious and cultural events with which they are made honors.




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