Itati, Argentina: Basilica of Our Lady of Itati
The History of Itati:
The story dates from the 16th Century, when the Jesuit missionary Luis Bolaños and the natives he had converted were saved from an Indian attack thanks to the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After beseeching her intercession, a breach formed on the Yaguari river, making the Itatí Mission safe from the attackers, who decided to withdraw.
But the story does not end there:
The Virgin of Itatí became known for her transfigurations, the first of which took place during Holy Week of 1624 and lasted several days. According to Fray Luis de Gamarra, “there was an extraordinary change on her face; she was more beautiful than ever before.”
The image of the Virgin of Itatí was crowned on July 16, 1900, at the request of Pope Leo XIII. The largest pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Itatí takes place on her feast day of July 9, the same day that celebrates the independence of Argentina in 1816. Then an annivesary celebration takes place on July 16…so there are two celebrations here in July.
About the Basilica of Our Lady of Itati:
The imposing Basilica of Our Lady of Itatí was built in 1938 and can accommodate up to 9,000 people. On top of the 26-foot dome is a bonze statue of the Virgin that overlooks the city.
The wooden statue of Our Lady of Itatí, in a small oratory decorated with a fresco representing natives praying to the Virgin on the banks of the Parana River.
On the feast day (July 16), there are overflow crowds.
Traveling to Itati:
Itati is about 45 miles (60 km) east of the provincial capital Corrientes, which has a regional airport.
The town is also close to the border of Paraguay and the city of Asuncion, Paraguay has a larger international airport.
Address: Av. 25 de Mayo
GPS coordinates: 27° 16′ 8.6808” S, 58° 14′ 36.6504” W
There is no official website for the Basilica.