O.L.Vr. Sterre der Zee
The statue of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The medieval statue is kept in a chapel attached to the city’s basilica dedicated to the Assumption of Mary.
Every day hundreds of devotees visit the chapel to light a candle or say a prayer. The keeper of the chapel lights the first candle every morning for all the people in the world that nobody prays for. I find this such a beautiful gesture.
Inside the chapel
Nuestra Señora de las Nieves en La Imperial y la Concepcion, Chile
The origin of the image of Our Lady of the Snows is associated with the founding of the city of Imperial, the intended capital of the Kingdom of Chile, in the heart of Mapuche territory. Later it was moved to the city of Concepción, hence it is referred to on the above copper engraving as ‘Nuestra Señora de las Nieves en La Imperial y la Concepcion’.
Nowadays very little remains of the devotion for the image. However, this was very different in the 17th century. In 1646 historian Alonso de Ovalle describes how ‘the sailors and people of the sea’ called on Our Lady of Snows while they were ‘sailing the sea, which is often very stormy and full of great danger’.
The image, which shows Mary safely guiding a ship back home, is from Alonso de Ovalle’s book Historica relacion del Reyno de Chile y de las missiones y ministerios que exercita en el la Compañía de Jesus.
Short history (in Spanish)
A postcard from 1959 of the Madonna of Montenero, the patron of the Italian region Tuscany.
At the time the picture was taken the Madonna was still covered in many votive offerings, which have now been removed.
The origins of the shrine go back to 1345. Tradition holds that a lame shepherd found the painting at the foot of the hill known as Montenero. In a vision he was instructed to carry it to the top of the hill. When he arrived there he was miraculously cured from his lameness.
The right hand of the Madonna di Merino, a statue of Mary venerated in Vieste in the Italian province Foggia.
The feast of the Madonna di Merino is celebrated on the 9th of May each year. On that day the statue is carried from the city to the coast in a procession. There the Madonna will cast her eyes over the sea and is then turned to the countryside. This is a ritual request to Mary by the people of Viesta to protect their two sources of livelihood: the sea and the land.
Baroque devotional image of Our Lady of Thalheim in Bavaria, Germany.
The first pilgrimages to Thalheim took place in late medieval times, when the gothic Madonna from a nearby chapel seemed to favour the place as it kept travelling there by itself. The people saw this as a sign that Mary wanted to be venerated at the site and built her a new chapel.
Maria Thalheim became an important place of pilgrimage and the chapel was later replaced by a church. According to a book of miracles no less than 1414 graces were bestowed between 1749 and 1762, which is around the time the above engraving was made. The church remains a popular destination for pilgrims until this day.