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Santa Marian Kamalen, Hagåtña, Guam

Commemorated on April 14, December 8
Santa Marian Kamalen, Hagåtña, Guam
Various local traditions agree that long ago, a Chamorro fisherman named Babang noticed lights in the sea, which turned out to be two crabs with lit candles on their backs, flanking a statue of the Virgin. Only after adopting Christian ways was he able to retrieve it. Babang brought the 29" statue to the garrison where he served in the local militia, where it occupied a camarín or small enclosure. Made of ironwood, the statue has face and hands of ivory and real human hair. The Virgin stands, without the Child, in the prayerful pose representative of her Immaculate Conception. On April 14, 1825, an earthquake struck the island. Crediting Nuestra Señora del Camarín with their survival, people for years afterward would light candles outside their windows on the eve of this date in commemoration. In 1826, the image moved to the Cathedral of the Sweet Name of Mary, Dulce Nombre de María. On March 25, 1985, Pope John Paul II designated the church a Basilica Minor. Once a year, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, the statue comes down from its niche high over the altar and processes through the capital. This was an official holiday until 2002, when the government eliminated it along with many others. But on December 8 that year, Super Typhoon Pongsona struck the island, after which Our Lady's holiday was reinstated. The Chamorro people call Guam's patron Santa Marian Kamalen. 

Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica,
"Catedral Basílica del Dulce Nombre de María,"
"Santa Marian Kamalen," Legends of Guam, (picture)




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