Holy Virgin of the Cloud
Venerated in the Franciscan sanctuary of the city of Azogues, province of Cañar, Ecuador
and today in the city of White Plains, New York.
At the end of the year 1696, the Bishop of Quito, Don Sancho de Andrade y Figueroa, was very ill. Disconsolate at the thought of losing their Bishop, the people of Guálupo, a village on the outskirts of Quito, decided to organize a novena to the Virgin Mary asking her for his recovery. On December 30TH, they organized a Rosary procession from the town of Guálupo to the Cathedral in Quito.
On the return trip, at around 4:30 in the afternoon, Fr. José de Ulloa y la Cadena, chaplain of the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception of Quito, was leading the group in the praying of the Rosary. He was just beginning to recite the third decade of the Glorious Mysteries when he looked up and saw a figure forming in a large cloud in the late afternoon sky. He pointed to the east and exclaimed to the crowd: “The Virgin! The Virgin!”
In the sky between the sanctuaries of Guálupo and Quito, “the Blessed Virgin appeared standing on a cloud somewhat darker and denser than the others, which served as her pedestal. She wore a crown on her head and carried a bunch of lilies in her right hand like a scepter. In her left hand she carried her Divine Son. She was dressed in a white silk tunic that draped to her feet in soft pleats, half hidden by a majestic mantle. On her head was a long filmy white veil.”
This apparition, which was viewed by close to 500 people in the procession as well as many others in the surroundings of Quito, lasted for the length of a Glory be and the praying of one Our Father and one Hail Mary. Testimonies of the miracle include those of the President of the Royal Chamber Don Mateo de Mata Ponce de León and other respected town officials. All the testimonies are carefully conserved today in the Archives of the Quito Archdiocese.
As confirmation of the miracle, the Bishop was immediately healed. Soon afterward, he authorized the veneration to the Virgin under the invocation The Virgin of the Cloud, and erected an altar to her in the Cathedral of Quito. The Bishop, who remained very devoted to the Blessed Virgin and the Rosary, lived some years more, dying in May of 1702.
In Ecuador, a grand procession honoring the Virgin of the Cloud is held every year on January 1 in the city of Azogues. It is organized by the Franciscans who constructed a large sanctuary in that city dedicated to the Virgin of the Cloud. Also, tthroughout the month of May, the Virgin of the Cloud is visited every day by all the faithful believers.
Let us always take advantage of the beautiful advice from St. Bernard: “When in danger, in anguish, in doubt, always invoke Mary. Do not allow it to fall from your lips, nor ever leave your heart”.
The Virgin of the Cloud devotional group will meet every last Saturday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in the Cafeteria.