Our Lady of the Conception Aparecida, or simply Our Lady of Aparecida
Miraculous statue venerated in Brazil, originally fished out of the water in 1717.
Three fisherman from the small town of Guarantinqueta had been charged with the task of catching a large number of fish for an upcoming banquet. Before setting out on their boat, the three men knelt in prayer and asked for the aid of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.
With little success, they eventually pulled up a headless statue of Our Lady. Carefully setting it aside, they let down their nets again and recovered the head. They realized it was a statue of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and with renewed faith in Our Lady Aparecida (which means who appeared) they let down their nets again and soon found they were almost impossible to lift due to the abundance of fish.
They repaired and cleaned up the statue, and soon put it on display in the home of the fisherman Felipe. But soon the crowds of pilgrims became too great and a chapel was built to house the statue. Larger churches continued to be built until finally the current structure was completed in 1980 and given the title Basilica. It is the largest Marian shrine in the world and second largest Basilica, smaller only than St. Peter’s in Rome. She was made the patroness of Brazil in 1930.
Prayer to Our Lady of Aparecida
Lady Aparecida, a son of yours who belongs to you unreservedly “totus tuus” called by the mysterious plan of Providence to be the Vicar of your Son on earth, wishes to address you at this moment. He recalls with emotion, because of the brown color of this image of yours, another image of yours, the Black Virgin of Jasna Gora. Mother of God and our Mother, protect the Church, the Pope, the bishops, the priests and all the faithful people; welcome under your protecting mantle men and women religious, families, children, young people, and their educations. Health of the sick and Consoler of the afflicted, comfort those who are suffering in body and soul; be the light of those who are seeking Christ, the Redeemer of all; show all people that you are the Mother of our confidence. Queen of Peace and Mirror of Justice, obtain peace for the world, ensure that Brazil and all countries may have lasting peace, that we will always live together as brothers and sisters and as children of God. Our Lady Aparecida, bless all your sons and daughters who pray and sing to you here and elsewhere.