In honor for our Lady of Loreto
By Karen Ocampo
Our Lady of Loreto is celebrated in San Miguel de Allende as the patroness of the town of San Miguel el Grande.
The image of Our Lady of Loreto is located all over the city. Even a street and a neighborhood are named after her. There is also a colonial chapel dedicated to her on the road to Cieneguita, at the Shrine of Atotonilco, and chapels in the Oratorio and at La Ermita, which originally held the first sculpture of this Italian virgin.
Devotion to this image dates from the thirteenth century, when the house where the Virgin Mary was born was occupied by Turkish slaves. It was transferred to Loreto, Italy, and placed in a garden of laurels (loretum), where her names comes from.
There are different versions of the statue’s story. The religious version tells that the representation of the Virgin (with infant) has no arms because she gave them to the enterprise of moving the Holy House of Nazareth to Italy, assisting the angels and seraphim. The more realistic story related to this tale about moving the house is that a powerful family in Italy paid to each stone of the house to be moved to Loreto because of desecration by the Turks.
Historian Graciela Cruz noted that the origin of the Virgin in San Miguel is linked to the Canal family, who traveled to the town of San Miguel el Grande. This information is supported by Oratorio’s Father Almaguer who said that the Virgin in the Holy House of Loreto at the Oratorio arrived in the eighteenth century. He mentioned that it and its celebration was brought by Don Manuel Tomas Canal and Maria de Hervas y Flores.
According to the priest, at the beginning this celebration was organized by Spanish families and was later to become one of the most important festivals for local people. The celebration this year will begin on September 6 with a kermesse organized by the “Servants of Mary” association, where you can enjoy the VIP Orchestra music, the mojigangas, tombola, and a raffle of a painting of Our Lady of Loreto. Festivities will end on September 8, beginning at 4:30pm. Casa de la Cultura will present folktales and a folkloric ballet, dancing stars, and singers from oratoriana estudiantina will participate. According to the priest, through the years, this celebration has been possible through the participation and support of everyone in the community.