Santa Marian Kamalen

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Our Lady of Camarin
Santa Marian Kamalen, Maga Haga
Our Lady of Camarin.jpg
The venerated image enshrined at the Minor Basilica of Most Sweet Name of Mary
Queen and Patroness of Guam
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Major shrineCathedral-Basilica of the Most Sweet Name of Mary
FeastDecember 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception
AttributesThe Blessed Virgin Mary on crescent moon
PatronageGuam and Guamanian people, Mariana Islands

Santa Marian Kamalen also known as Our Lady of Camarin and informally known as Dulce Numbre (English: Sweet Name) is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with a carved molave wood and ivory image venerated by the Roman Catholic faithful in Guam as their Patroness.[1]

The image is known to have escaped the Japanese war on bombing of Guam on 8 December 1941, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is permanently enshrined at the Minor Basilica of the Most Sweet Name of Mary.[2]


Pious legends claim that the image was brought by Spaniards through the Galleon ship Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza y Santiago which was shipwrecked on 2 June 1690 at the Cocos Island of Guam. The image is thought to have been enshrined on the ship by its sailors.

One account of its discovery holds that a fisherman found the statue along the shore of Merizo. He saw the image accompanied by crabs with votive candles, later interpreted as miraculous by the natives in the area. The image later gained the title of Kamalen, literally Barracks due to the image being stored in a nearby infantry compound after it was found by the fisherman.

The image measures approximately 28 inches and weighs 48 pounds. The image is composed of polychromed Molave wood and ivory head and hands and wears a wig of human hair. Caretakers of the image rescued the statue on 8 December 1941 at the beginning of the Second World War, when the image was hidden for safekeeping. The image was enshrined at the cathedral again on 8 December 1945, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

In 1948, the image was brought to the Philippines for professionally restoration by renowned Filipino Santero artist Máximo Vicente, who also restored the Black Nazarene of Quiapo.

Popular legends also recount the image surviving the 1902 earthquake in Guam, which destroyed the shrine and many statues within the church but left the image intact.


The image was stolen on three separate occasions: 19 May 1968, 3 May 1971 and 28 December 1992; it was always returned out of piety.[according to whom?] A replica is enshrined for public veneration at the main church, while the original ivory statue is enshrined above the high altar.[citation needed]

Today, the image is suspended above the high altar with no possibility of reaching it from the sides. A digital alarm is installed on its pedestal which is accompanied by the main caretaker of the image. Behind its niche is three panels of locked doors, accessible only by a staircase through the old rectory entrance.

Pope John Paul II mentioned the image on 22 February 1981 during his Apostolic visit.[3] A replica image was installed at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. on 17 September 2006.


  1. ^ Landy, Thomas (2018-04-30). "Feast of Santa Marian Kamalen honors Guam's patroness". Catholics & Cultures. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2006-12-07. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Address of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Clergy and the Religious". The Vatican. February 22, 1981. Retrieved 2019-05-08.