Our Lady of Lujan
Our Lady of Lujan
The history of the shrine begins in 1630, with a farmer who emigrated to Argentina from Portugal. Coming from a place where the Faith flourished, he was saddened by the lack of religious influence in his adopted district. He decided to help the situation by building a chapel on his land. He decided to write to a friend in Brazil, he asked the friend to send him a small statue of Our Lady for his chapel. The friend, unsure of how the farmer wanted Our Lady to be depicted, sent two statues—one of the Madonna with Child, the other a representation of the Immaculate Conception. When darkness overtook the travelers after leaving Buenos Aires, they camped at the isolated ranch of Don Rosendo de Oramus. Early the next morning, the wagons and animals were readied for the rest of their journey. One by one the carts began to move, all except the one that carried the images of Our Lady. Progress was stalled when the driver was unable to coax the animals forward. The other drivers in the caravan came to help—but all the efforts were unsuccessful. Finally, it was decided that the animals might somehow be influenced supernaturally. And so it seemed, since the animals willingly moved when the statue of the Immaculate Conception was removed from the cart. The statue was solemnly carried to the ranch and enthroned in a room of its own. This room soon became a popular shrine and remained so for the next 40 years. Then the image was acquired by Ana de Matos and carried to Luján, where it currently resides.
As miracles were attributed to her intercession, the pilgrims began to come to pray in ever greater numbers. In 1677 her image was kept in a church built in her honor, until a larger one replaced it in 1763. Work on a large Basilica reached its completion in 1904 when the image of Our Lady of Luján was solemnly transferred there. Every October large crowds of youth walk the 40 miles from Buenos Aires to Luján in an overnight pilgrimage of great Marian devotion. She has always been invoked as the patroness of all the regions of La Plata: Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.