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Sunday, September 09, 2007

For the glory of God and of His Holy Mother - Part 3

Having begun the project of the wall and shrine on the feast of the Immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was very fitting that her statue should be installed in the almost completed shrine, on the feast of the Nativity of the same Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Seated, as she is, on the Papa Stronsay pier, where at high tide she is surrounded by the sea, we ask this Star of the Sea to protect us from every evil, but especially the least relaxation in any form.

Br. Mark, C.SS.R. places the two adoring angels into the shrine to await the arrival of their Queen.

The setting sun shows its face for the occasion.

The statue is very heavy, and was brought to the pier in the van. It was definitely a case of ‘many hands make light work’ to get it from the van to the shrine.

The procession for the blessing leaves the sacristy and makes its way to the shrine.

Rev. Fr Anthony Mary, C.SS.R. blesses the statues and shrine.

The community gathers around for the blessing.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

Lord that I may see (Luke. 18:41)

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Las Lajas. After hearing Her story, which I had never heard before, I thought it so amazing that it should be made as public as possible. Please read on.

In Columbia in the 18th century, there were two villages about 6 miles apart. These were the villages of Potosi and Ipiales. They were linked by a road which was often very busy with people commuting from one village to the next. One of these travelers was an Indian lady by the name of Maria Mueses de Quinones, who lived in Potosi. One day in 1784, she traveling this road with her young daughter strapped to her back, according to the Indian custom. The little girl, whose name was Rosa, had been both deaf and mute from birth.
Now about half way between the two villages, the road passes through a deep gorge at a place called Las Lajas which is translated “The Rock Slabs”. In this gorge was a cave, which the still superstitious people believed to be possessed, and even the very dwelling place of the devil. As Maria Mueses de Quinones passed through this gorge, she was overcome by a sudden and great fatigue so that she felt compelled to rest. She decided to rest in the cave, but being aware of its supposed inhabitant kept close to the entrance. As she was resting, she felt something touch her on the shoulder, as if to encourage her to enter the cave. Needless to say she was terrified and fled.
Sometime afterwards, Maria was once again traveling the same road. As she descended into the gorge, a violent storm began. Having nowhere else to shelter herself, she took cover by the cave. She did not, however have the courage to enter the cave, but kept just outside it, remembering her previous experience. While sitting there, she let her daughter Rosa down from her back. After a short amount of time, Rosa went off to play by the cave. Suddenly the deaf mute little girl called out “Mummy, mummy, there's a lady in here with a child in her arms!”. Maria didn't wait to have a look for herself, but once again grabbed her daughter and left. When Maria began to tell people about what had happened, nobody believed her at first, but as the story began to spread, some started to think that perhaps it was true, since it was undeniable that little Rosa was now able to speak whereas before she could not.
After a while, Rosa disappeared from her house. Maria was very worried about where she could have gone, and after looking all over for her, guessed that she had gone to the cave in Las Lajas, since she had often been heard to say that the woman was calling her. Maria hurried to Las Lajas as fast as she could. She arrived to find her daughter kneeling in front of a beautiful woman, and playing with a small boy who had come down from the arms of the woman. Maria fell to her knees before the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Maria did not want to become an object of ridicule, and so she kept the event to herself. However, after some time, Rosa fell very ill, and eventually died. Maria was absolutely distraught. She took Rosa's lifeless body into her arms, and went to the cave at Las Lajas to beg Our Lady to restore Rosa's life. Being unable to leave poor Maria in such a state of misery, our heavenly Mother answered her prayers and gave Rosa back her life. It was not long before the news spread, and a large crowd gathered and made its way to the cave. When they arrived, they discovered a wonderful image imprinted on the rock of Our Lady, represented as an Indian with the child Jesus in her arms, and St Dominic on one side receiving the rosary, and St Francis on the other receiving the Franciscan cord. This Miraculous image could not be explained, and the Indians proclaimed her to be their Queen.
In more recent times, geologists from Germany visited Las Lajas to do tests on the image. After finding that there was no paint or pigment of any kind, they drilled small holes in to image, only to discover that the image and all the colours go back 4 feet into the rock! In the early 20th Century, a magnificent Church was erected on the site.

There are many spiritual diseases, but surely it is a perfect example of spiritual blindness, that anyone can see or hear of this ongoing miracle, and not declare it supernatural, and conclude that God exists. Let us pray to Our Lady of Las Lajas for those who are overtaken by this spiritual blindness, that they may be given the grace to see, and for ourselves, that we may never be found suffering from this malicious spiritual disease. Lord, that I may see.

Our Lady of Las Lajas, Pray for us

Monday, September 03, 2007

For the glory of God and of His Holy Mother - Part 2

Good weather comes but once a year, and so we make the best use of it we can while it lasts. Our main attention has been focused on getting the first stage of our pier wall completed.

Br. Louis Marie, C.SS.R. laying blocks. We pray that the block work of our congregation may be joined ever more firmly by the mortar of charity.

Br. Columba Maria, C.SS.R. (L) and Br. Magdala Maria, C.SS.R. (R) bringing the freshly mixed cement to the wall.

An overview.

Br. Matthew finishes off the ramparts of the first shrine to house the statue of the Immaculate Conception.

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