Ocotlan, Mexico: Statue of Our Lady of Ocotlan & Healing Well of Ocotlan
The apparitions of Our Lady of Ocotlan:
About 80 miles outside of Mexico City lies one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in the country. The apparitions of Ocotlan began on February 27, 1541 when Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego Bernardino (no relation to Juan Diego of Guadalupe fame). This was during a time of great trials and tribulations for the natives of Tlaxcala, where Ocotlan is located. War, political unrest and the numerous plagues brought from Europe by the Spanish conquerors decimated the population.
In response to this immense suffering, the Blessed Virgin Mary cried out. “My heart always desires to help those who are suffering. My heart cannot bear to see so much pain and suffering among people without healing them.”
Our Lady showed Juan a spring of water and said: “Not only your relatives and friends will be healed, but also all of those who drink this. Drink as much water as you desire. Know that upon drinking just one drop, the sick will not only be cured, but they will receive perfect health!”
You may have heard not to drink the water in Mexico. While true in most part, we always do as Our Lady said: we drink all we want! And we have never heard of anyone having any problems. The water is fresh and cool, an awesome reminder of God’s mercy.
The next morning, Juan and the Franciscan monks from the monastery where he worked found a burning tree that contained a statue of Our Lady as she had foretold in her message the previous day. Six popes: Clement XII (1735), Benedict XIV (1746), Pius VI (1799), Pius X (1906), Pius X11 (1914) and John XXIII have granted approval of the apparitions, granted indulgences, approved the coronation of the statue, elevated the church of Ocotlan to a basilica, and established a special feast day Mass.Today the statue is kept in the Basilica at Ocotlan. Right behind the altar is the Camarin Room, where the robes on statue are changed.
This room is itself an architectural masterpiece, with wonderful frescoes covering the walls and ceiling.
On the third Sunday of May, known as the Feast of Subida, the statue is taken from the Basilica and processed through town, stopping at several places along the way to celebrate Mass. The Bishop and several priests accompany this beautiful procession and it is a time of great celebration.
The streets are lined with flowers along the path and the statue is processed through the town, stopping along the way at various places to celebrate Mass. At three in the afternoon the statue is returned to the Basilica for the High Mass before putting it back in its place behind the main altar.
At the conclusion of the Mass a shower of flowers flows from the top of the Basilica (shown here on the right) on to the altar as the statue is replaced for another year. There is a small gift shop in the Basilica.
Walk out of the Basilica and down a fairly steep sidewalk and you will come to the healing well. It is one of only a few Marian healing wells in the world. Here is the place that Our Lady instructed the well to be dug, and all who drank from it were cured.
The water is cool and tastes great, and we have never suffered any ill effects. Talk about a miracle!
The interior of the small building housing the well is shown here along with the local artist who has been painting scenes regarding the miracle on the interior over a period of years.
You can fill water bottles from the well to take with you. As always, when visiting any shrine where you plan to take water home, we recommend you bring your own water bottles since the “souvenir” type bottles are great to take home, but are not always well made.
Ocotlan is about 60 miles from Mexico City and included in most organized pilgrimages to Our Lady of Guadalupe and Mexico. If you are traveling independently, there is bus service from both Mexico City and Puebla. There is no train service.
Address: Privada del Norte, Ocotlán, 90100 Tlaxcala de Xicohténcatl, Tlax., Mexico
GPS coordinates: 19° 19′ 5.4948” N, 98° 13′ 42.9960” W