Our Lady of Guadalupe, Extremadura
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The shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe was the most important Marian shrine in the medieval kingdom of Castile. It is revered in the monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, in today's Cáceres province of the Extremadura autonomous community of Spain.
The shrine housed a statue reputed to have been carved by Luke the Evangelist and given to Saint Leander, archbishop of Seville, by Pope Gregory I. When Seville was taken by the Moors, a group of priests fled northward and buried the statue in the hills near the Guadalupe River in Extremadura. According to local legends, at the beginning of the 14th century, the Virgin appeared one day to a humble cowboy named Gil Cordero who was searching for a missing animal in the mountains. Cordero claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him and ordered him to ask priests to dig at the site of the apparition. Excavating priests rediscovered the hidden statue and built a small shrine around it which evolved into the great Guadalupe monastery.
Pilgrims began arriving in 1326, and in 1340, King Alfonso XI took a personal interest in the shrine's development, and had a Hieronymite monastery built there, attributing his victory over the Moors at the Battle of Rio Salado to the Virgin's intercession. By 1386, copies of the statue were venerated in satellite chapels. Our Lady of Guadalupe, along with Santiago de Compostela and Nuestra Señora del Pilar became rallying points for the Christian Spaniards in their reconquista of Iberia.
It was at the monastery that the Spanish monarchs Isabel and Ferdinand signed documents that authorized the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World in 1492. Upon his return from America, Columbus went to the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe to give thanks to God, for a safe voyage.
Virgen de Guadalupe of Loboc
Loboc, in the Philippines, has documented many miracles attributed to the intercession of its Virgen de Guadalupe. The most important of these happened on November 26, 1876 and is immortalized in a painting on the ceiling of Loboc Church by renowned Cebuano painter Ray Francia. In this miracle narrative, a flood reached Loboc, wreaking havoc on the whole town and submerging the altar of Loboc Church. Miraculously, the waters stopped at the base of the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe and it remained unharmed by the flood. In addition, the citizens of Loboc, despite the extent of the flood, escaped unharmed and no casualties are recorded.
Many devotees from other places in the Philippines also attend the Maytime festival to honor the Loboc Virgen de Guadalupe and to ask for her miraculous intercessions. Childless women go to Loboc in May to dance the bolibongkingking before the Virgin's image. Those who have had a child following the pilgrimage to Loboc return to her shrine to devote their child, the fruit of their supplication to God through the prayers of the Virgen de Guadalupe, to the Virgin. Some, whose prayers have been answered return to Loboc in thanksgiving and present new vestments and metal ornaments to the Virgen de Guadalupe, the devotional patroness of Loboc.
The Bolibongkingking Festival
The people of Loboc honor the Virgen de Guadalupe every 24 May. During this festival Lobocanons celebrate the feast with music and merrymaking. The celebrations start nine-days prior to the May 24 feast with the GOZOS or a ballad of praises to the Blessed Virgin Mary sung in vernacular or Latin before the start of novena masses.
On the eve of the feast day of the Virgen de Guadalupe, a fluvial parade takes place in the idyllic Loboc River. During the activity, the image is brought on a floating restaurant while Marian songs, marches and processional hymns are played. Dignitaries from both church and state participate in the procession to relive the moment when the cholera epidemic ceased when Lobocanons brought the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe on a fluvial procession in the 1840s.
Derived from the sounds of indigenous musical instruments used, the drums (bolibong) and gongs (kingking), the Bolibongkingking Festival is celebrated during the feast proper of the Virgen de Guadalupe. Believed to be both a healing ritual and dance of thanksgiving, the faithful devotees of the Blessed Mother dance to the attractive rhythm of drums and gongs before her image swaying their hands and lifting their petitions or thanksgiving to God through the intercession of the Virgen de Guadalupe.