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Quinche, Ecuador: Shrine of Our Lady Quinche


The story of Our Lady of Quinche:

In what seems an often familiar story, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was carved by a local peasant in 1586. It was made for the local Carib Indians who had been converted recently. Unfortunately they did not react favorably to the statue and were unwilling to pay the sculptor. So he took it instead to another tribe of converts who enthusiastically traded him some lumber for the statue.

They placed the statue in a rocky niche near where they worked and noticed how birds were attracted to it and serenaded them with chirping throughout the day. A tradition developed where the Indians gathered here in the evenings playing instruments and singing. During these occasions the statue seemed to be surrounded by a glowing light that no one could explain.

The women of the village made a garment for the statue and over time came reports of cures attributed to touching of this garment. Word spread and people began making pilgrimages to the small chapel constructed here.

One of the earliest of these miracles took place when a young couple who were helping to build the chapel left their baby sleeping in the shade of a small tree. Suddenly they heard the baby scream and turned in horror to see the baby being carried off in the mouth of a large bear. The parents eventually found the child dead and badly mangled. Distraught, they carried the child’s body back to the statue and prayed fervently. Others at the shrine joined them and suddenly the child opened her eyes and reached for the statue. The miracle was witnessed by dozens at the time.

About the Shrine of Our Lady of Quinche:

Naturally word spread even more after this and thousands began to travel to the shrine. Eventually a new shrine had to be built to accommodate the many visitors. Today you will find a magnificent Basilica where the simple chapel once stood.

The statue is on display here and taken out of the Basilica on the feast day of Our Lady of Quiche on November 21 and processed though the town.

In 2019, an image of Our Lady of Quinche was placed in the Vatican Gardens.  You can see a video here from Rome Reports.

Traveling to Quinche:

The nearest transportation hub is Quito, which has an international airport served by many airlines. The shrine is only about 7 miles (4 Km) from the airport and close to the center of Quito as well.

Click here for the official website for the shrine.

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“Miraculous Images of Our Lady”, Joan Carroll Cruz, Tan Books, 1993.

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