Naga, Philippines: Our Lady of Penafrancia
The Story of Our Lady of Penafrancia:
The story is a long one, dating from the year 1434, although it really begins in 1401 with the birth of a child in Paris, France. This child, Simon, was born to wealthy parents who could provide him with all the comforts of life. He was not, however, interested in wealth and after the death of his parents he gave all his wealth to the Church. He then applied for a position as a chamber boy in a Franciscan church in Paris. While praying in the chapel one night, he fell asleep and was awakened by a voice that told him he would now be called Simon Vela and he was to go to a place called Pena de Francia, somewhere west of France.
The story of his search for Pena de Francia is a long one, taking him from France to Salamanca in Spain and then on to the relatively unknown spot where the statue was found.
The statue itself is patterned after the one in Salamanca, Spain.
About the Shrine of Our Lady of Penafrancia:
One of the largest Marian Shrines in the world is located here, with an annual feast that draws an estimated 5 million pilgrims each year (The feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia).
Click here for the official website of the Archdiocese of Caceres, Philippines