The city of Lujan is 43 miles west of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The city is home to Our Lady of Lujan and the basilica that is dedicated to Mary under the same title. In Spanish, she is known as Nuestra Señora de Luján. Although construction on the basilica wasn’t started until the late 19th century, the history of this Marian devotion begins in the early 17th century.
In 1630, a farmer emigrated to Argentina from Portugal and was incredibly saddened with the lack of faith that resided in his new home, particularly the village of Sumampa. He came from a place where the Catholic faith was alive and vibrant. To assist in the lack of faith he witnessed, the farmer decided to build a chapel on his own land. Realizing he needed a statue of Our Lady for his chapel, the farmer wrote to a friend in Brazil asking for a small statue for the place of prayer. Not knowing what his friend was seeking, the Brazilian man sent two statues by way of the sea – one of the Madonna with Child, and the second one, a representation of the Immaculate Conception.
Since the region was filled with aggressive natives, a caravan of carts and pack horses were formed to keep the shipped items secure, which included the two statues. Not long after they left Buenos Aires, the dark evening fell upon them and they had to take shelter at an isolated ranch owned by Don Rosendo de Oramus. In the morning, as each of the wagons began to depart for the rest of their trip, the wagon carrying the two statues would not move. The driver could not get the oxen pulling the cart to budge. The other drivers assisted, but to no avail they could not move the animals, even after changing the oxen. After realizing what was in the cart, the drivers believed that the animals were being held there by something supernatural. Once the second image, the representation of the Immaculate Conception, was removed from the cart, the animals began to move. The Madonna and Child statue arrived safely in the village of Sumampa, where it is venerated still today as Our Lady of Consolation.
The statue that was left behind was then brought with great care to the nearby home of Don Rosenda, who built a rustic chapel to house it. Quickly, the room became a very popular shrine where miracles began to take place. For forty years, pilgrims traveled to venerate the image of Our Lady. Over time, larger chapels were built to house the amount of people. In 1763, the statue was moved to another large shrine in the city of Lujan. The construction of the main church where the statue would be placed began in 1887 and was completed in 1904. In 1930, Pope Pius XII converted the church into a Basilica. In the month of October, the youth gather in great numbers and walk 40 miles from Buenos Aires overnight to Lujan to show devotion to Our Lady.
When Argentina fought for independence in the 18th and 19th centuries, it is said that the designer of the flag of free Argentina, Sargent Major Carlos Belgrano, created the flag to mirror the “blue and white of the Immaculata of Lujan.” Our Lady of Lujan is also known as the Patroness of Paraguay and Uruguay.
Our Lady of Lujan…Pray for Us.
“History of Our Lady of Luján.” Servants of the Lord / Servidoras, 14 Feb. 2015, ssvmusa.org/index.php/about-us/our-lady-of-lujan/history-of-our-lady-of-lujan/.
“Luján.” Sacred Sites, sacredsites.com/americas/argentina/lujan.html.