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Virgen de la Concepción, San Juan de los Lagos
San Juan de los Lagos , Mexico (1224)

Commemorated on November 30, February 2, December 8
Virgen de la Concepción, San Juan de los Lagos
Fray Miguel de Bolonia, of the Spanish Netherlands, was one of the first Franciscans to enter Mexico in 1524. A saintly missionary who learned the native languages and stood up for natives when Spanish rulers threatened them, he traveled through Mexico, teaching and building until his death in 1580. In 1542, he founded the village of San Juan Bautista de Mezquititlán (land of mesquite trees), where he built a hospital and chapel, in which he placed a 20" statue of Mary Immaculate. 
 
 

History

In 1623, some trapeze artists brought the the body of their daughter to the San Juan chapel for burial. The young acrobat had fallen during practice onto some upright blades sticking up from the ground to make the show more thrilling. The chapel caretaker, an old woman named Ana Lucia, put the Virgin's statue on the girl's breast, and the child revived. The grateful father took the fragile statue, made of cornstalks and glue, to Guadalajara for restoration. From then on the shrine's fame and miracles multiplied. Meanwhile, the town grew, changing its name to San Juan de los Lagos (St. John of the Lakes). A new church was built, and then another--each larger, more splendid, more worthy of the Immaculate Virgin. On November 30, 1769, the statue was installed in the third church. 
 
San Juan de los Lagos began holding a market fair in commemoration, annually around November 30, with festivities extending to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8. The celebration eventually became so rowdy that the hierarchy decided to move the feast of the Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos to February 2 (Candlemas). The Candelaria fiesta has evolved into a month-long, mass pilgrimage to the shrine from all over Mexico, but December 8 is still observed, as well as August 15 (Feast of the Assumption). 

The temple always gets pilgrimages of the faithful, and it is surprising how many devotees and expressions of faith that will render the devotees, however the beauty of the sanctuary that hosts the Virgin, which has become the main promoter of tourism in the region .
 
Due to their manufacture, the time goes back to his devotion, and the authorship of the image, the other sister Jalisco images is considered Virgen de Zapopan and Talpa Virgin.

From Miraculous Images of Our Lady By Joan Carroll Cruz:

The second most popular image of Mary in Mexico, second only to Our Lady of Guadalupe, is the statue of Our Lady of St. John of the Lakes. In the early years of the 17th century, the holy Franciscan missionary Fray Miguel de Bolonia brought the statue to the village, then known as San Juan Bautista Mezquititlan, which was inhabited by the Nochiztleca tribe. Depicting the
 
Immaculate Conception, it soon became a favorite of the Indians and was the center of their devotion. It became known beyond the village during the year 1623 when, according to an early legend, a spectacular miracle occurred.
 
A certain aerial acrobat was traveling along the Camino Real, "the King's Highway," from San Luis Potosi to Guadalajara, performing in the towns along the way. His act included his wife and two daughters. His stunts included swinging from one high point to another by means of ropes, in somewhat the same fashion as trapeze artists of today. To add excitement and an element of danger, the artists had to fly over swords and knives that were stuck in the ground with their points positioned upward.
 
While performing in the village, the younger daughter, a child of six or seven, slipped, fell upon the knives and was mortally wounded. After preparing the body and wrapping it in burial cloths, the grieving parents brought the child's body to the chapel of Our Lady of San Juan for burial.
 
Meeting them at the door of the chapel was the 78-year-old Ana Lucia, the wife of Pedro Antes (the caretaker and custodian of the beloved statue). Feeling pity for the grieving family, she exhorted them to have confidence in La Virgencita, who could restore the child to them. Taking the statue from its altar in the sacristy where it had been consigned because of its poor condition, Ana Lucia laid it on the child's dead body. In a few moments, they detected a slight movement under the shroud. The parents quickly unwrapped the cloth to discover the child well and unharmed. This first miracle of Our Lady of San Juan de Los Lagos became known in neighboring villages and towns. Numerous other miracles and favors followed, until now Our Lady is venerated by pilgrims from throughout Mexico and the United States.
 
The statue was in poor condition at the time of the first miracle because of its composition. Made of pasta de Michoacan, a combination of cornstalks and glue, it was brittle and considerably damaged by the elements. Because of its sad state, the grateful father asked if he might take the statue to Guadalajara to have it restored. The pastor, Don Diego Camarena, gave his permission and sent two Indians of the village to accompany him so that they could return the statue to the chapel while the acrobat went on his way.
 
As soon as they arrived in Guadalajara, they were approached by a man who asked if they were in need of someone to repair a statue. Since he was an artist, he offered his services. After settling on a price, the artist was entrusted with the statue. In a few days, the image was returned beautifully restored, with the face and hands of exceptional beauty. The artist however had vanished, and no one could tell the acrobat anything about him. The circumstances surrounding the artist have always remained a mystery. 

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Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos (Our Lady of St. John of the Lakes)
 
Jalisco, Mexico – 1623
The second most popular image of Mary in Mexico, second only to Our Lady of Guadalupe, is the statue of Our Lady of St. John of the Lakes. In the early years of the 17th century, the holy Franciscan missionary Fray Miguel de Bolonia brought the statue to the village, then known as San Juan Bautista Mezquititlan, which was inhabited by the Nochiztleca tribe. Depicting the
 
Immaculate Conception, it soon became a favorite of the Indians and was the center of their devotion. It became known beyond the village during the year 1623 when, according to an early legend, a spectacular miracle occurred.
 
A certain aerial acrobat was traveling along the Camino Real, "the King's Highway," from San Luis Potosi to Guadalajara, performing in the towns along the way. His act included his wife and two daughters. His stunts included swinging from one high point to another by means of ropes, in somewhat the same fashion as trapeze artists of today. To add excitement and an element of danger, the artists had to fly over swords and knives that were stuck in the ground with their points positioned upward.
 
While performing in the village, the younger daughter, a child of six or seven, slipped, fell upon the knives and was mortally wounded. After preparing the body and wrapping it in burial cloths, the grieving parents brought the child's body to the chapel of Our Lady of San Juan for burial.
 
Meeting them at the door of the chapel was the 78-year-old Ana Lucia, the wife of Pedro Antes (the caretaker and custodian of the beloved statue). Feeling pity for the grieving family, she exhorted them to have confidence in La Virgencita, who could restore the child to them. Taking the statue from its altar in the sacristy where it had been consigned because of its poor condition, Ana Lucia laid it on the child's dead body. In a few moments, they detected a slight movement under the shroud. The parents quickly unwrapped the cloth to discover the child well and unharmed. This first miracle of Our Lady of San Juan de Los Lagos became known in neighboring villages and towns. Numerous other miracles and favors followed, until now Our Lady is venerated by pilgrims from throughout Mexico and the United States.
 
The statue was in poor condition at the time of the first miracle because of its composition. Made of pasta de Michoacan, a combination of cornstalks and glue, it was brittle and considerably damaged by the elements. Because of its sad state, the grateful father asked if he might take the statue to Guadalajara to have it restored. The pastor, Don Diego Camarena, gave his permission and sent two Indians of the village to accompany him so that they could return the statue to the chapel while the acrobat went on his way.
 
As soon as they arrived in Guadalajara, they were approached by a man who asked if they were in need of someone to repair a statue. Since he was an artist, he offered his services. After settling on a price, the artist was entrusted with the statue. In a few days, the image was returned beautifully restored, with the face and hands of exceptional beauty. The artist however had vanished, and no one could tell the acrobat anything about him. The circumstances surrounding the artist have always remained a mystery.
 
The spread of devotion to the miraculous image required a larger sanctuary, so one was built in 1631. The popularity of the chapel was such that on July 14, 1678, Don Juan Santiago de Garabito, the bishop of Guadalajara, ordered an accounting of all the miracles worked through the intercession of Our Lady of San Juan during the preceding ten years, as well as other information regarding the sanctuary. The detailed reply presented by Nicolas de Arevalo provides the researcher with all the facts regarding the early history of the image and its sanctuary.
 
By the year 1732, the sanctuary was unable to accommodate the multitudes who pilgrimaged from all parts of Mexico to observe the feasts of Our Lady. The first stone for a magnificent temple was laid in November of the same year.
 
A great distinction was awarded the shrine on August 15, 1904, when the statue was liturgically crowned by Don Jose Jesus Ortiz, the archbishop of Guadalajara. Pope St. Pius X authorized the crowning because of the great devotion to Our Lady of San Juan de Los Lagos, the antiquity of the statue, and the abundance of miracles attributed to Our Lady's intercession through the miraculous image.
 
The crown used for the ceremony is of gold measuring some seven inches high and weighing six pounds. It is adorned with 197 precious stones including diamonds, emeralds and sapphires.
 
Although the statue is made of a substance composed of cornstalks and glue, which has a tendency to crumble in a relatively short time, the image has remained in excellent condition for over 350 years. Measuring about a foot in height, the face is well proportioned and slightly dark in color and the hands are gracefully joined in prayer. The statue is clothed in beautiful garments and stands atop a crescent moon. Above the image are two Angels of silver who support between them a silver ribbon with the words in blue enamel: Mater Immaculata, ora pro nobis.
 
The main feast days are February 2, which is Candlemas Day, and December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The wonder-working statue is found in the parish church named for the Immaculate Conception, where it draws thousands of pilgrims from all over Mexico. The feasts are times of great joyfulness and are observed with fiestas, dancing, bullfights, cockfights and various amusements.
 
However, inside the church great solemnity is observed as local pilgrims demonstrate the urgency of their needs by traveling on their knees from the back of the church to the main altar. 
 

Description

Small image of Our Lady of San Juan measures 33.5 inches, and weighs 321.9 grams. It is made of cornstalk paste by artisans from the region of Patzcuaro, Michoacan. Represent the Immaculate Conception, standing with his hands before his face and chest leaning slightly forward. He took his foot ends of a crescent moon, which was withdrawn later. She is dressed in the same size of pasta with her red dress and starry blue cloak, decorated with a border of fine gold. Her face is oval ivory color and pink blush on her cheeks, slanted eyes painted a nutty brown color, very small, well-shaped mouth shut;, straight nose and thin eyebrows well delineated. Her hair is spread into two strands that fall wave-shaped shoulders to the elbows. His head is larger in proportion to body size, perhaps, with this detail, the sculptor tried to represent Mary's purity as a little girl.

Although the statue is made of a substance composed of cornstalks and glue, which has a tendency to crumble in a relatively short time, the image has remained in excellent condition for over 350 years. Measuring about a foot in height, the face is well proportioned and slightly dark in color and the hands are gracefully joined in prayer. The statue is clothed in beautiful garments and stands atop a crescent moon. Above the image are two Angels of silver who support between them a silver ribbon with the words in blue enamel: Mater Immaculata, ora pro nobis.

Approval

The spread of devotion to the miraculous image required a larger sanctuary, so one was built in 1631. The popularity of the chapel was such that on July 14, 1678, Don Juan Santiago de Garabito, the bishop of Guadalajara, ordered an accounting of all the miracles worked through the intercession of Our Lady of San Juan during the preceding ten years, as well as other information regarding the sanctuary. The detailed reply presented by Nicolas de Arevalo provides the researcher with all the facts regarding the early history of the image and its sanctuary.
 
By the year 1732, the sanctuary was unable to accommodate the multitudes who pilgrimaged from all parts of Mexico to observe the feasts of Our Lady. The first stone for a magnificent temple was laid in November of the same year.

A great distinction was awarded the shrine on August 15, 1904, when the statue was liturgically crowned by Don Jose Jesus Ortiz, the archbishop of Guadalajara. Pope St. Pius X authorized the crowning because of the great devotion to Our Lady of San Juan de Los Lagos, the antiquity of the statue, and the abundance of miracles attributed to Our Lady's intercession through the miraculous image.

The crown used for the ceremony is of gold measuring some seven inches high and weighing six pounds. It is adorned with 197 precious stones including diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. 
 
In 1904, after several requests since 1900, affirmative response was received in the city of Guadalajara on January 29, Pope Pius X for the canonical coronation of the image of Our Lady of San Juan. The power to impose canonically golden crown to the Virgin was acquired by the Hon. Archbishop of Guadalajara, Mr. Don Jose de Jesus Ortiz . The solemn coronation took place on 15 August 1904 with a Crown responsible to the Pontifical Institute of Christian Arts Benzinger Brothers in the city of New York , and the two angels placed one on each side of the image to hold carrying a semicircular ribbon on top, engraved with the inscription Mater Immaculata. Ora Pro Nobis (Immaculate Mother, pray for us), with a height of 18 inches and made with 18 carat gold.

The May 8th of 1990 was a glorious day for sanjuanenses because its virgin would be visited by the Pope John Paul II.

The main feast days are February 2, which is Candlemas Day, and December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The wonder-working statue is found in the parish church named for the Immaculate Conception, where it draws thousands of pilgrims from all over Mexico. The feasts are times of great joyfulness and are observed with fiestas, dancing, bullfights, cockfights and various amusements.
 
However, inside the church great solemnity is observed as local pilgrims demonstrate the urgency of their needs by traveling on their knees from the back of the church to the main altar.

Shrines

Catedral Basílica de Nuestra Señora de San Juan de los Lagos

Catedral Basílica de Nuestra Señora de San Juan de los Lagos (San Juan de los Lagos , Mexico)

Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church located in the town of San Juan de los Lagos in the state of Jalisco , Mexico , ...

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