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Nuestra Señora de los Angeles (Our Lady of the Angels), Cartago, Cartago, Costa Rica

Commemorated on August 2
Nuestra Señora de los Angeles (Our Lady of the Angels), Cartago, Cartago, Costa Rica
On August 2, 1635, while gathering firewood, mestiza Juana Pereira found a carved black stone resembling the Virgin and Child. She took the 3" image home and put it in a box. The next day, when gathering wood in the same place, she found an identical carving on the same rock. She took that one home too, thinking she now had two, but found the first one was no longer in its box. So she locked the second one up. On the third day, though, the same thing occurred: the poor woman found the same image in the same place along the path, and on taking it home, found the locked box no longer contained the find of the day before.   
 
So Juana Pereira entrusted the carving to the parish priest. The next day, wishing to examine it, he found it had disappeared. He went to the spot where Juana had found it, and there it was. So he took it to the church and placed it in the tabernacle with the sacrament. And of course the next day, during mass, when the tabernacle was opened for distribution of communion, the image was no longer there. It had returned to the woods. Everyone agreed this meant the Virgin wanted a shrine there. 
 
Since August 2 is the feast of Our Lady of the Angels -- made famous by the shrine in Assisi where the Franciscan Order began -- the Virgin of Cartago is called by this title, or, familiarly, La Negrita. She is the patron saint of Costa Rica. The rock to which the Virgin's statue kept returning is in the basilica built in her honor. Pilgrims stroke it and take healing water from a spring that arose beneath it. The little statue was solemnly crowned on April 25, 1926.  
 

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