Tuesday, September 20, 2011

81. RETRO-SANTO: Ntra. Sñra. del Rosario de Orani

Bataan’s most well-known and most revered Marian image is a dark-skinned, carved-in-the-round figure of a Madonna and Child, that follows the iconography of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. It was said to have been brought by the Dominicans to Bataan in July 1587 through the galleons that plied the seas from Spain or from Mexico. Another claim was that the image was carved in the Philippines after the religious order’s arrival.

A chapel in Orani was built to house the image, which continues to be the home of the Virgin since. Ntra. Snra. Del Rosario of Orani wields a scepter and a bastón while carrying with her left hand, the carved figure of Child Jesus, who holds a globe. On their necks are rosaries. At the back of the Virgin, a ‘suksok’ has been carved to simulate the tucked portion of her tunic in her waist. The ‘suksok’ is believed to be a distinct Philippine touch, leading art historians to believe that the Virgin and the Child Jesus were carved locally. As was the custom, the Virgin is dressed in real fabrics even if she is fully carved.

Several miracles are attributed to the Virgin, that is why it is also called “Virgen Milagrosa”. The earliest involves the apparition of Our Lady to a group of Aetas who attempted to overrun the town in reprisal against the Spaniards who had driven them up the mountains. The Aetas stopped on their tracks in fear and awe, thus the attack was aborted.

When the town was threatened with a plague of locusts in 1718, people prayed for deliverance from the pests that were about to swoop on their rice harvest. A tornado suddenly materialized and swept the locusts away.

During the last War, a Japanese attempted to deface the image by shooting it with his gun, but the gun would not fire. The soldier fled in abject fear and left the image alone. As recent as the Red Tide season, the Virgin of Orani is credited by fishermen of Bataan for saving their catch by driving the deadly tide from the Bay of Orani. It was said that the hem of her dress was found wet and soiled with sea water. Survivors of the Pinatubo eruption also told stories of the appearance of the Virgen del Rosario before many victims, offering solace and comfort.

Orani’s Lady of the Rosary was canonically crowned on 18 April, 1959.
Feast Day: Every 2nd Sunday of October.

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