Our Lady of the Pillar, The Oldest Title of Our Lady
Appeared to St. James in 40 A.D in Zaragoza, Spain
According to tradition, Mary (who was still alive) appeared to St. James the Greater in 40 A.D on the banks of the river Ebro in Zaragoza, Spain on a pillar of jasper to encourage him, and his disciples, in their efforts to evangelize. She also asked that a chapel be built on the spot in her honor. He complied and created the first church in honor of Our Lady.
“This place is to be my house, and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build… and the people of this land will honor greatly my Son Jesus”
The present church was built in the 1600’s by Charles II and includes on the same pillar, now covered with embossed metal, a 15 inch wooden statue of Our Lady holding Our Lord with a dove in His hands. Stories differ as to the origins of the statue; some say it was given directly to St. James by Mary, or the angels that brought her to him, others claim he commissioned it. Regardless, numerous miracles are attributed to the statue. The most famous belonging to that of a 17th century beggar who continually begged Our Lady of the Pillar for help, as he was unable to find work due to an amputated leg. His prayer was answered by the full recovery of his missing limb. In addition, three bombs dropped on the church during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s all failed to detonate.
Today, she is the patroness of Spain and all Hispanic people and her feast is celebrated on October 12.
Prayer to Our Lady of the Pillar
Most Holy Virgin of Pilar,
to thy care we confide the needs of our families,
the joys of children,
the dreams of youth,
the anxieties of adults,
the sufferings of the sick,
and our preparation for life’s end.
To Thee we entrust the perseverance
of our priests and religious.
Ever increase our Faith,
give assurance to our Hope
and enliven our Charity.
St. Pope John Paul II
Tomorrow, Our Lady of Czestochowa!
I love Our Lady of the Pillar! If you can get your hands on a copy of The Mystical City of God by Venerable Mary of Agreda and published by TAN, you will love reading all about it in the 4th volume (4th of 4 volumes ). Those books tell the life of Our Blessed Mother as revealed to Ven Mary of Agreda. They are fascinating and completely approved by the church. I have been reading them again and again for about 5 years and haven’t gotten tired of them yet! God Bless you
What a fascinating account! And I especially love the prayer. A small question (and I’m really not trying to be a grammar nazi here): is Pilar misspelled in the first line? I ask because I had a student named Pilar and now I’m curious as to whether that’s a name with a Marian background.
Thanks in advance!
In Spanish: Nuestra Señora del Pilar. In English, Pillar. So, the name could be inspired by the title in Spanish. I did come across stories of girls being named ‘Pilar’ after this title of Our Lady.
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