DEL PILAR VIRGIN, as she looks in 1954, enthroned at the Sta. Cruz Church, Manila.
The original Virgin of the Pillar resides in Zaragoza, Spain. The one enshrined in the Sta. Cruz Church in Manila is a replica of that statue, bought to the Philippines by Jesuits before 1768.
“La Pilar” has ivory head and hands, mounted on a carved wood beauty. She holds the Child Jesus, made entirely of ivory. The Mother and Child, which were once arrayed with radiant jewelry, sits on top of a pillar, based on a legend in which the Virgin appeared before St. James in that manner.
As early as 1743, a confraternity already existed in the district, thus the arrival of Virgen del Pilar made the devotion official. As a patroness of the Sta. Cruz district, she was the object of prayers, mid-day Saturday Masses and recitation of the Rosary. During novenas, the statue was mounted on a carriage and placed at the left side of the altar until after the procession.
During the second World War, it was taken from the baptistry where the image was kept and and stored inside a bank vault in the office of the PNB president, Juan B. Quintos.
Returned after the War, the Virgen del Pilar now occupies the right side altar of the Church, which has become a shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.
Shrine: Sta. Cruz Church, Plaza Sta. Cruz, Manila
Feast Day: October 12