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Our Lady Of Coromoto History
Upon the foundation of the city of Guanare, on the 3rd of November of 1591, one of the most rebel
Indian tribes, the Cospes, that were established there, fled to the jungle, to a sector of the way
to Tocuyo, between the states of Portuguesa and Lara. There, they would have remained for a
long lime, thus delaying their evangelization and their entry, through the Gospel, into the
Catholic Church, if it were no thanks to Mary, whom Christ on an outburst of love, on the Holy Cross,
gave us as Our Mother/when referring to His most beloved disciple, said to Her:
"Woman, behold my son" (John 19,26) and through him we were all represented, Therefore,
from the moment Mary received us as Her own children and watches over ail of us,
but specially over the poorest, the most abandoned, the little ones and the weak.
This has been proved by History.
Our Lady has adapted herself to the different ages and to the various needs of humanity.
This is clearly evidenced when she has appeared as Our Lady of: Guadalupe, of Miracles,
of Lourdes and of Fatima, but all in this one of Coromoto as we shall see:
One day, when the Cacique (the Indian Chieftatn) and his wife were crossing a
stream of water, they saw a Lady of extraordinary beauty that said to them
in their native tongue: "Go to the house of the white men and ask, them to pour water
on your heads (Baptism) so as to be able to enter Heaven"... What a difficult situation.
She seems to place them in, but as a good Mother, she allows Juan Sánchez, a Spaniard,
owner of some land at Soropo, on the shores of the Guanare River, to pass nearby.
Then, the Cacique tells him what had happened, and Juan Sánchez (filled with joy, we presume)
asked him to rejoin his tribe, that within eight days upon returning to el Tocuyo,
he would take them himself to be able to teach them everything needed for the poring
of the water. The Indian Chieftaín, moved by the souvenir of the Beautiful Lady,
as they called Her since then, was promptly ready and when Juan Sánchez returned,
they departed with him, who led them to an angle between the rivers Guanaguanare
and Tucupido (so called by the indians).
Once there, he agreed with the authorities to be designated their "Encomendero"
(having the Indians entrusted to him by royal decree). He gave out lands for them to cultivate
and to establish their settlement, while he catechized them preparing for the baptism.
Several indians received it, but not so the Cacique who was yearning for his jungle:
there, he was in command, here, on the contrary he had to obey...
Finally, he prepared his escape and would have put it into effect, were it not again
by another intervention of the Blessed Virgin who watched over him and his trube.
Thus, on the night of Saturday, the 8th. of September of 1652, She appeared
lo him in his hut, in the presence of his wife, his sister -in-law Isabel, and her littleindian nephew.
(This is the only time that the Blessed Virgin Mother has appeared to a family)
When the Cacique sees Her, he grabs an arrow and aims to kill Her; but Our Lady,
as the loving mother that never is afraid of a son, gets near to him. Then he throws the
arrow and tries to push Her, but She dissapears, leaving in his hand,
in a small paper of parchment, Her blessed image. He hides it, to burn it later.
But, he would have done so, expect for the presence there of a boy (often,
God avails Himself of children and of souls full of candor for great deeds). The little Indian
advised Juan Sanchez, who then went together with two of his companions,
Bartolome Sanchez and Juan Sibrián to the site of the apparation and collected the precious relic.
They notified the civil and ecclesiastic authorities; but, these, did not believe them.
Afterwards, due to the great prodigies Our Lady was accomplishing for the Indians by meams
of Her Holy Image, they decided to take it to the Church of Guanare (nowadays,
Basílica Cathedral) with great ceremony on the 1st of February of 1654,
on the solemn eve of the Purification of Mary. There it remained long afterwards,
place in a precious reliquary, for the worship of the faithful. Since 1985, it is incrusted at the
pedestal of the wooden image that was crowned by His Holiness 'John Paul II,
during his visit to Venezuela the 27th. of January of that same year
But meanwhile... what happened with the Cacique?.he fled to the jungle and when the Blessed
Virgin saw that She had not obtained anything For him, She permitted a poisonous
snake to bite him. Then his heart retumed to God and he started to ask for Baptism.
A man from Barinas state, that happened to pass by thosemoments imparted it to him.
After his baptism he became an apostle, and asked the Indians not to be separated from the
missionary man he was, and to be baptized.
Thus encouraged by the advice of the Cacique, the Cospe indians formed a community of very
fervent faithful. So great was their fervor that the local authorities were forced to bring them
a priest to look after them. He was Capuchin monk Fray (Brother) José de Nájera, who gave them
Christian instruction and founded with them a town called "San José de la Aparición"
(Saint Joseph of the Apparition).
Because of the great floods, in time this town disappeared, but the place remained one of worship
and attraction always, first for the indians and later for de devout faithful of the Blessed
Virgin known under the name of Coromoto. For this reason, we are constructing with great efforts,
a lovely National Votive Temple to our Sublime Patronness at the same site were the second
apparitiontook place on the 8th of September of 1652. The people of Venezuela with the
responsability of the civil asociation "Venezuela a la Virgen de Coromoto", and the Bishop of Guanare
as its president, are constructing this temple. Help us bring this to fruition through your prayers.