Our Lady of Guadalupe in Extremadura

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Our Lady of Guadalupe
in Extremadura, Spain
LocationCaceres, Spain
TypeMarian apparition
Approval12 October 1928, during the Canonical coronation granted by Pope Pius XI
ShrineRoyal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe

The shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe was the most important Marian shrine in the medieval kingdom of Castile.[1] It is revered in the Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe, in today's Cáceres province of the Extremadura autonomous community of Spain.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of three Black Madonnas in Spain. The statue was canonically crowned on 12 October 1928 by Pope Pius XI with a crown designed and crafted by Father Felix Granda and crowned with the attendance of King Alfonso XIII of Spain.

It should not be confused with Our Lady of Guadalupe, enshrined in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico.


The shrine houses a statue reputed to have been carved by Luke the Evangelist and given to Saint Leander, archbishop of Seville, by Pope Gregory I. According to local legend, when Seville was taken by the Moors in 712, a group of priests fled northward and buried the statue in the hills near the Guadalupe River in Extremadura. 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.[2] 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 became the great Guadalupe monastery.


The polychromed cedar sculpture is just over two feet in height. It is a Black Madonna, in the style known as "Sedes Sapientiae" or "Throne of Wisdom", with the Christ Child seated on Mary's lap. This genre spread from Northern Europe between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries.[3]

Since at least the late 14th century, the wooden figures have been clothed in embroidered and brocaded vestments, allowing only their faces and hands to appear. Costly robes, suitable for the Queen of Heaven, were often elaborately stitched in gold thread and set with precious gems, attesting to both the honor due the Virgin and the wealth of the donors. The underlying sculpture is rarely seen.[4]


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.[5] 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.[5] Due to the royal prerogatives granted by the Catholic Monarchs and their successors, the monastery of Guadalupe became one of the wealthiest ecclesiastical establishments in the country.[4] Upon his return from America, Columbus went to the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe to give thanks to God, for a safe voyage.[6]

The Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a declared World Heritage Site.[7]

The Philippines[edit]

Virgen de Guadalupe of Loboc[edit]

Frescoes on San Pedro Church in Loboc by renowned Cebuano painter Ray Francia

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 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.[citation needed]

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 intercession. 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, to God through the prayers of the Virgen de Guadalupe. 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[edit]

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 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 in the 1840s a cholera epidemic ceased when Lobocanons brought the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe on a fluvial procession.

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 devotees of the Blessed Mother dance to the 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.