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[Catholic Caucus: Coincidences That Aren't [Our Lady of the Angels]
Faith and Family Live! ^ | August 2, 2010 | Sarah Reinhard

Posted on 08/04/2010 11:49:05 AM PDT by Salvation

Coincidences That Aren't

Our Lady of Angels

The feast of Our Lady of Angels is today, August 2.

I have a habit of nicknaming people, whether in my head or so that they know it. (I do it to myself, too, just to be fair about things.) I was explaining this, some time ago, to a sister-in-law, who was touched by my nickname of her.

“You know, people only nickname those they love,” she said.

Well, maybe. (I’m not always generous in my mental nicknaming games.)

In the case of Our Lady of Angels, though, a Costa Rican title of Mary with a delightful story, the nickname La Negrita is one of fondness and affection. They have good reason to smile when they use this nickname, for the little statue with the cute nickname caused quite a stir.

A God-incidence

On a footpath near Cartago, Costa Rica, the mulatto peasant Juana Pereira was gathering firewood on August 2, 1635, the feast of the Holy Angels, when she saw an odd light coming from the trees by the path. She followed it and there, tucked into a larger rock, was a stone statue.

It was black and about three inches high. In it, Mary was carrying Jesus on her left arm, gathered into the folds of her mantle. He was reaching up, almost as though reaching for her face, and she was looking down, though not at Him.

Juana took the statue home. Though she was poor, I doubt she considered selling it. Maybe she took it as a sign that God was at work in her life, despite her hardships. Perhaps she had plans to take it to her priest. Maybe she was just going to enjoy having a statue of Mary and Jesus in her hut.

Do you suppose Juana panicked when she found the statue missing? Had she told anyone about discovering it? Could they have stolen it?

The Disappearing Statue

The statue had returned to the rock where it had been found. This happened once more, for a total of three relocations from her hut back to the rock, before Juana took the statue to her parish priest, who put it in the church’s tabernacle.

It took four more of these strange relocations before someone said, “You know, it might not be a coincidence that this statue of Mary and Jesus keeps disappearing from locked cupboards and tabernacles and ending up back at that rock,” and decided maybe Mary wanted a shrine built near that rock.

The shrine of Our Lady of Angels, or La Negrita, became a destination for pilgrims, and especially for the poor, outcast, crippled, and hurting. In 1926, the image was solemnly crowned, recognized as holy and worthy of veneration. Then, in 1935, Pope Pius XI named the shrine a basilica, showing the high respect and sacredness of the site and the title of Mary.

A Small Statue with a Big Lesson

The Costa Rican image of Our Lady of Angels is humble. It’s not sparkly and golden, though it’s displayed in a large gold monstrance at the basilica.

It’s just a small piece of carved stone, one with an inclination for showing up back where it was found. It reminds me that I never know when – or how – I’ll get the help I need.

La Negrita didn’t appear to someone rich and learned. As she often does, Mary chose a lowly person, someone who could embrace the miracle and enjoy its beauty, despite the appearance of coincidence. She found a person who would welcome her and give her a tender nickname.

In my day-to-day life, immersed in rational thinking and left-brained activity, it’s easy to ignore the existence of miracles. I could think of my alarm clock as a cheap piece of plastic and completely ignore the fact that every single time I’ve forgotten to turn it on for that crazy Adoration wake-up time, I’ve still been up in time. It is, after all, just a coincidence.

Or is it?

The Lady of the Angels

Angels are the closest beings to God in heaven, and Mary is their queen. The title Our Lady of Angels shows a respect for God’s plan and His ordering of things, as well as a specific veneration for His mother.

Instead of Mary with a gown of gold, Mary is carved from black stone. Within that simple stone statue, though, there’s the possibility for healing and wholeness. As Mary holds her Son, she looks down to the angels holding her.

Do you think she would pass Him to one of them, so I could have a closer look? Would she hesitate to share her Baby with anyone who wanted to hold Him? Is there any better way to find the path to heaven?

—Sarah Reinhard struggles to find the miraculous in the mundane and the beauty in the ordinary in her little corner of cyberspace,


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: blessedvirginmary; catholic; lanegrita; saints
This is a Catholic Cacus thread.
1 posted on 08/04/2010 11:49:11 AM PDT by Salvation
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To: Salvation

Should have been Catholic Caucus!

2 posted on 08/04/2010 11:49:47 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
It appears there are two separate celebrations, but the same day.Different countries, different names. But maybe I'm mistaken.

[Catholic Caucus: Coincidences That Aren't [Our Lady of the Angels]
[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] A Gift from Heaven: the Portiuncula Indulgence

3 posted on 08/04/2010 11:53:02 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; markomalley; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

4 posted on 08/04/2010 11:56:34 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Would it violated the caucus if I mention that “Cacus” was a minor deity in ancient Roman mythology ... and that he had a sister named “Caca”?

5 posted on 08/04/2010 1:05:46 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

LOL~ I thought of that when I saw my spelling. Maybe it would be better if I just finish unpacking and take a nap. You know how those family reunions can be!

6 posted on 08/04/2010 2:09:46 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Our Lady of the Angels -- August 2

Our Lady of the Angels

[Our Lady of the Angels]
Also known as

  • La Negrita
  • The Little Black One
  • Virgin de los Angeles



The image of Our Lady of the Angels is only about three inches high, and is carved in a simple fashion on dark stone. She has a round, sweet face, slanted eyes and a delicate mouth. Her coloring is leaden, with scattered golden sparkles. She carries the Christ Child on her left arm. Only the faces of Mary and the Child are visible; the rest is covered by a cloak that is gathered in pleats. The statuette is displayed in a large gold monstrance that surrounds it and enlarges its appearance.

While searching for firewood on 2 August 1635, the feast of the Holy Angels, a poor mestizo woman named Juana Pereira discovered this small image of the Virgin sitting beside the footpath near Cartago, Costa Rica. Juana took it home with her, but it soon disappeared only to be re-discovered at the same place beside the same path. The statue repeated this behavior five more times - taken to homes and then the parish church - and returning on its own to the site where Juana found it. The locals finally took this to mean that Our Lady wanted a shrine built there, and so it was.

The shrine soon became a point of pilgrimage, especially for the poor and outcast. The image was solemnly crowned in 1926. In 1935 Pope Pius XI declared the shrine of the Queen of Angels a basilica. The stone on which the statue was originally sitting is in the basilica, and is being slowly worn away by the touch of the hands of the pilgrims. A spring of water appeared from beneath the stone, and its waters carried away to heal the sick.

7 posted on 08/04/2010 2:12:56 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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