Our Lady of Copacabana: Patroness of Bolivia

Our Lady of Copacabana
Patroness of Bolivia
Feast Day: Aug. 5
Mass, 7 p.m., Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
Main Celebrant: Father Jhon Guarnizo

Our Lady of Copacabana is the patron saint of Bolivia, named after the beach resort town near Rio de Janeiro. The present site of the shrine was founded by the Incas. Legend says, Inca fishermen were caught by a fierce storm in 1576, and began to pray, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to them and led them to safety. In gratitude, the Incas decided to build a shrine and place a statue of the Blessed Mother in it.

The features and colors of this particular Madonna are distinctly Indian. In 1583, an adobe-style church was built in the area and soon became a famous destination. It is said the image never leaves the site, and those who come to venerate the statute, come into the church and leave walking backward in order not to turn their backs on her. In 1940, it was elevated to the rank of Basilica.
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