Caapuce, Paraguay: Our lady of Miracles Basilica
Paraguay is a land-locked country in South America that is sometimes overlooked by its more famous neighbors such as Brazil or Argentina. With a population of around 7 million, 90% of which identify themselves as Roman Catholic, the country of Paraguay has a rich Catholic tradition dating from the early 16th Century when the Jesuits began to establish missions here.
Our Lady of Miracles:
The story dates from the 16th Century, when a local sculptor and convert to The Faith, Indio Jose, was chosen by the Franciscan to carve a statue of the Blessed Mother. Looking in a nearby woods for a suitable tree to use for the statue, he was almost discovered by a local tribe that was violently opposed to Christianity. Hiding himself inside a large tree nearby, he invoked the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, promising to carve two statues of her if his life was spared. His prayer was answered, as soon she appeared to him. The hostile tribe passed him by without discovering his hiding place.
He cut down the tree in which he had been hiding, and carved two statues. One he kept at home and the other one went to a nearby church.
When a flood covered the area, everything was wiped out….including the home of Indio Jose and the statue. However, the the statue was miraculously found floating the lake some days later.. From there the statue was taken to several different churches and chapels over the years, but finally returned here where a Basilica was built in her honor. Many miracles have been reported here at the Basilica.
Built originally in 1945 and still undergoing construction, it is the center of attention in this small town…..especially on December 8th, when thousands of pilgrims visit.
Getting there: To reach Caacupe you will need to take a bus or taxi from the capital city of Asuncion, which is also the nearest airport. The distance is only about 30 miles.
Address: Juan E. O’Leary, Caacupé, Paraguay
GPS coordinates: 25° 23′ 10.2408” S, 57° 8′ 28.8672” W
Tel: +595 511 244733
There is no official website for Our Lady of Miracles.