Sunday, January 16, 2011

48. RETRO-SANTO: Nstra. Sñra. de Los Desamparados of Sta. Ana

The other image of Our Lady of the Abandoned rests in a shrine along Pedro Gil in Sta. Ana, Manila. It is an ivory image, browned with antiquity, brought to our Islands in 1719 by R. P. Vicente Ingles O.F.M, who touched it to the original in Valencia, Spain.

This image was reputedly the miraculous handiwork of 3 men who mysteriously disappeared after finishing the statuary in 1410. She became the patroness of the mentally ill and the abandoned after Fr. Juan Jofre said his homily in the La Merced Cathedral in Spain, calling people’s attention to the plight of the deranged and feeble-minded. A hospital was thus erected and dedicated to Mary, Our Lady of the Innocents.

The image in Sta. Ana holds a Child Jesus and a golden scepter of authority in her other hand, a donation of the Archbishop of Manila, Most Rev. Francisco de la Cuesta, also the Governor-General of the colonized islands. The Virgin is depicted ina protecting attitude, shielding two children under her embroidered mantle.

Her Divine head, with gems encrusting her long hair, is circumscribed with a golden aureole and a fabulous bejeweled crown. The image is kept in the ancient beautifully preserved Sta. Ana Church, where devotees can climb a short flight of stairs to touch the Virgin’s vestments at the back.

Her shrine, at the Sta. Ana Church within Plaza Calderon is visited on her feast day, on May 12.

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