Las Lajas Colombia: The Basilica of Las Lajas (Our Lady of the Rocks)
The Story of Our Lady of Las Lajas:
What seems like an impossible, and unlikely, spot for a Basilica has its origins in a miracle reported in 1754. At that time, a woman named Maria Mueses, was traveling from her village of Potosi to the nearby village of Ipiales. With her was her daughter Rosa, who had been a deaf-mute since birth. Caught in a downpour, she took refuge in a cave in the canyon they were traversing. She was not very eager to enter, since the locals feared that caves were the place of the devil, but the severity of the storm gave her no choice.
Upon entering the cave, she quickly made the sign of the cross, but felt a presence behind her that she was certain was the devil. Afraid to go any further, she grabbed her daughter and ran out into the canyon.
Suddenly, her daughter began to speak to her as if she had done so all of her life. Rosa remarked that she saw a beautiful woman and child up on the cliff, but Maria was too afraid to look and ran beck to her village. Upon her return to the village, the villagers were amazed since they had known the little girl all of her life and knew her to be a deaf-mute.
From time to time she would bring Rosa to the place where the apparition occurred so that they could leave flowers or perhaps light a candle. Then one day, Rosa disappeared and her distraught mother, remembering how her daughter loved that spot, looked for her and found her playing with a young boy and overlooked by a beautiful woman. She immediately knew that this was Jesus and His mother Mary.
Maria’s joy was short-lived, however, since Rosa soon became ill and died. Remembering how Rosa loved to visit the spot, Maria took her lifeless body to the ravine imploring the Blessed Mother to pray for her. Her faith was rewarded, as suddenly Rosa came back to life as if she had just been sleeping.
The villagers, who had been preparing for Rosa’s funeral, were amazed, to say the least. They decided to go to the cave where the miracle had taken place and noticed a beautiful image of Our Lady on the rocks. Neither Maria nor Rosa had seen the image there before. No one knew who had painted it or where it had come from. In the beautiful image, Our Lady is holding the Child Jesus and handing St. Dominic a rosary; the Child Jesus is extending a friar’s cord to St. Francis of Assisi.
The source of the image cannot be rationalized in human terms…its’ composition appears similar to the of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Geologists have determined there was no paint or any other pigment on the surface of the rock; the colors are the colors of the rock itself, and they penetrate into the rock evenly for several feet!
Word of the miracle here spread and it quickly became a place of pilgrimage, and the Shrine you see here is the result.
About the Shrine of Our Lady of Las Lajas:
The location is unique, as you can see from the photo.
The Basilica is open daily and, of course, there is no charge for admission.
Traveling to the Shrine of Our Lady of Las Lajas:
The town of is located in Southern Columbia, close to the border with Ecuador, so can easily be reached from Ibarra in Ecuador or Pasto in Columbia. It is located just a few miles from a major highway connecting the two countries.
Address: Las Lajas Sanctuary Narino 524068
GPS coordinates: 0° 48′ 19.2024” N, 77° 35′ 9.5928” W
Click here for the official website for the Basilica 0f Our Lady of Las Lajas (in Spanish).