Spain & Lourdes

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Places of pilgrimage and principal religious celebrations in   Spain & Lourdes

Appearance of the Virgin Mary. Pontevedra (Galicia)

After taking vows, Sister Lucia lived in a convent in this beautiful Gallician city. As happened in Fatima, the Virgin Mary appeared to her.Today, in the convent cell where this occurred, a small chapel is cared for by a humble religious community.

Apostle Saint James. Santiago de Compostela (Galicia)

After having preached in the most far-flung corners of the Roman Empire, Saint James was executed by Herodes Agripa in Palestine. His body was brought to Spain by two of his disciples. Eight centuries afterwards the body of the Saint James was discovered in what is today Santiago de Compostela. Over the centuries, millions of pilgrims from around the world have visited his sepulchre in this mystical city.

Virgin Mary of Covadonga. Covadonga ( Asturias)

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Situated in the beautiful landscape of the Picos de Europa National Park, this sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary is a lighthouse beam to the faithful. Masses are still given in the cavern where the Virgin Mary appeared in 722 to the army of Don Pelayo. It is said that thanks to divine intervention, the consequent battle fell in favor of the Christian army, the first victory against the Islamic invaders. Shortly afterwards, Don Pelayo became the first Spanish King and the reconquest of the peninsula by Christian forces began, slowly but inexorably.

 Saint Isidoro. Leon

 After the invasion of the Iberian peninsula by the Islamic forces, the Sevillian authorities decided to send the bodily remains of Saint Isidoro to a safer place in the north, Leon. There, in the eleventh century, one of the European jewels of romanesque art was constructed to house the remains of this saint and scholar, whose work, “Etymology” is considered the first encyclopedia and was required reading in European universities throughout the Middle Ages.

Saint Theresa. Avila.

In this impressive walled city, each monument is a reminder of some stage of the life of this saint, who was born here in 1512. The monastery of the Encarnation, where she spent many years of her life, is the most sanctified with the sculpture of Christ. She was the first woman named Doctor of the Church and her writings and poems show a lively intelligence and sensibility that speak to us clearly across the centuries.

Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. Caceres

The appearance of the Virgin Mary to a shepherd provided inspiration at a difficult moment to the Christian troops. After the battle (Salado), the king ordered the construction of this Gothic styled hieronymite monastery at the place of the apparition, a site of incomparable natural beauty. Here, the first Indians brought from America were converted to Catholicism and since then, the monastery has been the patron of the Hispanic culture. Each October 12, solemn processions representing brotherhood with the peoples of America take place.


Saint Ferdinand. Seville.

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Of prime importance to the city of Seville, this Saint/King was instrumental in the final push of the reconquest of the thirteenth century. His great piousness and respect for Christian morality gained him sainthood, while in 1671 he was granted position on the altars.


Saint John of the Cross and Saint Domingo of Guzmán. Segovia.

The obvious beauty of this two-millenium-old Castillian city is enhanced by spiritual qualities of undeniable value. Here, Saint John of the Cross, friend of Saint Theresa, theological scholar and one of the greatest poets of the Spanish language is buried in a convent. The bodily remains of Saint Domingo of Guzman, founder of the Dominican Order, and to whom the Catholic Church historically attributes the creation of the holy rosary, are sepulchered in a monastery just outside the city.


Virgin Mary of Montserrat. Barcelona.

Not far from the Catalan capital, and protected by a mountain of unusual appearance and splendor, this spiritual center of great importance in the history of Spain has been the object of pilgrims from around the world. Here, before the unusual beauty of the image of the Virgin Mary, Saint Ignatius of Loyola reaffirmed his religious vocation.

 
Saint Isidro Labrador. Madrid.

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Almost a thousand years after the birth of this humble laborer in a village of little importance that would become Spain´s capital centuries later, the importance of Saint Isidro does not seem to have limits. In many countries, he is venerated by those working in agricultural activities. It is still possible to see the well where, according to tradition, he performed one of his miracles. His uncorrupted body is show to the faithful during the day of his holiday, May 15.


Virgin Mary of Pilar. Zaragoza.

To this city of Cesar Augustus on the banks of the Ebro River, in 40 A.C., was transferred the mortal remains of the Virgin Mary to inspire the preaching of the apostle Saint James. A pillar of marble was brought and the first temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary was constructed. Successive temples have been raised on this same spot, and always over this two-thousand year old marble column.

 
Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Loyola ( The Basque Country)

Only a year before the discovery of America by Columbus, Saint Ignatius of Loyola was born in a tower that still is standing in the village of Azpeitia. After a youth spent in madcap and warring activities, he gave his life over to God in his native village. His room have been converted into a chapel and there masses are celebrated, honoring in this way the founder of the Company of Jesus (1540), and who, through the ministering of his Jesuit priests, spread the word of God to the most remote corners of the world.


Saint Francis Javier. Javier (Navarra)

In a family castle that still stands, Saint Francis, the cofounder with Saint Ignatius of the Jesuit Order, was born around the beginning of the sixteenth century. During his lifetime, he did not stop traveling in order to carry the word of God to the infidels. After having preached in India, Japan, and trying in vain to do so in impenetrable China, he died in the Orient in 1552. He is the patron saint of the faith and the Orient, and together with Saint Theresa of the Baby Jesus, is the patron saint of all missions.


Saint Domingo of the Road. La Rioja.

This saint, the protector of all pilgrims, died in 1109 after having erected bridges, roadways, and a hospital. All his life he was at the service of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. In the city that bears his name (Santo Domingo de la Calzada) occurred the celebrated miracle of the hanging. To commemorate this event, a white rooster and hen are kept in a beautiful Renaissance henhouse within the Santo Domingo Cathedral.


Saint John of God. Granada

Although Portuguese by birth, Granada was this saint´s city of adoption. It was there where, at 40 years of age and after decades as a soldier and partaking of a licentious lifestyle, Saint John decided to found the Congregation of the Brothers Hospitiller. Better know as the Saint John of God Order, its members, the celebrated Brothers of Charity, attend to all the sick who need help without regard to their own health. It is possible to visit the room where this saint died and also the Saint John of God church, the apotheosis of the granadian baroque style, where his mortal remains are kept.


Virgin Mary of Lourdes. Lourdes(France)

Although not on the Iberian peninsula, the appearance of the Virgin Mary in this village of the Pyrenees at a short distance from the Spanish border, is effectively part of the Iberian devotion of the Virgin Mary. In 1858, a girl of 14, Bernadette Soubirous received a visit from the Virgin Mary. Since then, millions of devotees from all parts of the world have made the pilgrimage to this holy spot and drank the miracle waters that flow from the fountains close to the cavern where the Virgin Mary made her appearance. A basilica was constructed at the end of the nineteenth century to honor and glorify her memory.

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