The image of Our Lady healing the wounds of the world at the Vatican Gardens

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The Vatican Gardens are a haven of peace and quiet in bustling Rome. Deep inside their walls, they house an image of the Our Lady which recently arrived from Colombia to heal the wounds of the world: Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquira. 

At the enthronement ceremony were faithful from Colombia, where the image is the country's patroness, as well as members of its Presidential Guard. Also in attendance were priests and religious from Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, and Bolivia, where the image enjoys widespread devotion as a symbol of the nations' unity during their fight for independence from Spain. 

Colombian Ambassador to the Holy See
'We were Creoles, Africans and despised Indians who were able regain our freedom and our radiance through independence. Over the years we lost our common fatherland of Simon Bolivar, but not the motherland that still unites us. The Virgin of Chiquinquira is the mother of the united Andes.'

President, Governorate of Vatican City State
'To me it also seems to be a sign of the unity of the Church, of the universality of the Church. Here everyone has a home.'

Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquira is a Marian image that was commissioned by a Spaniard in 1560 so that he could pray to it in his house in the New World. The canvas was eventually abandoned and the painting faded, but tradition has it that a flash of lightning miraculously restored its colors in 1586. 

Now, the Vatican Gardens host a mosaic of this Marian image comprised of 70,000 red, blue and yellow tiny stones—the same colors of the Colombian flag.

Colombian Ambassador to the Holy See
'She is present here as a woman and as a mother to free us of these times, to give us the strength to repair the wounds and scars we carry. She is also the mother of the discarded, of those who suffer the pain of feeling excluded.'

Provincial Prior of the Dominicans of Colombia
“Today she will be visited by thousands of Colombians to ask her to renew the social fabric of her homeland in the same way that she renewed the torn fabrics of her miraculous canvas.”

The morning of the ceremony in the Vatican Gardens, the jewels, scepter, and crown were stolen from the shrine of the original image in Colombia. Yet the thief was apprehended shortly thereafter and the items were returned. 

Colombian Ambassador to the Holy See
“If it were not for Friar Diego and the Dominicans, this work would not be a reality. And I want to thank the people of Colombia and the Dominicans for the work that they have done in guarding the Virgin of Chiquinquira for so many centuries. Now those same jewels remain there in Chiquinquira for the good of those who have faith and are devoted of the Virgin of Chiquinquira. And we are not going to allow acts like these happen again.”

Those gathered around the image of Our Lady of Chiquinquira also prayed for Gloria Narvaez, the Franciscan missionary kidnapped by jihadists in Mali.

Together, they celebrated their shared history, and how, from here on, the heart of the Church will bear a small piece of Colombia. 



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