Our Lady of Torreciudad and St. Josemaria Escriva
In 1904, when St. Josemaria Escriva was two years old, he suffered from acute meningitis. Given no hope by the doctors, his mother, Dolores Albás, prayed a novena to Our Lady and made a promise, that if her son recovered she would make a pilgrimage to a hermitage dedicated to Our Lady of Torreciudad. Without any medical explanation, the young St. Josemaria healed overnight and, in thanksgiving, his mother fulfilled the promise she made to Our Lady.
The hermitage of Our Lady of Torreciudad is located twelve miles from Barbastro, Spain where St. Josemaria was born. He later recalled that, seated on a mule and along rough roads, “My mother carried me in her arms to Our Lady.” St. Josemaria’s mother always attributed his healing to Our Lady’s intercession and often reminded him about the event.
St. Josemaria’s gratitude to the Mother of God for the protection given to him since he was a child grew deeper and stronger over the years and one of the manifestations of his gratitude was to undertake the construction of a new Shrine of Torreciudad located near the hermitage.
THE HERMITAGE AND SHRINE OF TORRECIUDAD
The ancient image of Our Lady of Torreciudad, a Romanesque-style wood carving, was enthroned in 1084 in a hermitage chapel located near the Cinca River in the region of Huesca, Spain. Over the centuries, generation after generation of the local population visited the hermitage on pilgrimage, entrusting their joys and sorrows, asking for their needs, and thanking Our Lady for the favors received.
Through the initiative and direction of St. Josemaria, a new shrine was built in honor of Our Lady of Torreciudad. In a letter of June 1967 he wrote: “I hope that the Lord will want to shower with spiritual graces, those who come before that small image of his Blessed Mother, so venerated for centuries. That is why I am interested in having many confessionals, so that people can be purified in the holy Sacrament of Penance and – with renewed souls – confirm or renew their Christian life, learn to sanctify and love work, bringing peace to their homes and the joy of Jesus Christ: peace I leave you, peace I give you.”
In 1975, the new shrine opened its doors. Hundreds of thousands of faithful pilgrims continue to visit, seeking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary today.
Since 1992, the Shrine of Torreciudad has hosted an annual Marian Day for the Family during which all families from near and far are invited to participate in a festive pilgrimage under the protection of Our Lady. Families are encouraged to bring food and personal supplies to share with the local poor and refugees. There is also a special blessing for children who have made their First Communion (that year) and a consecration of newborn babies to Our Lady.
The feast of Our Lady of Torreciudad is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15).
ST. JOSEMARIA ON THE NEW SHRINE
On November 27, 1972, during a talk in Barcelona, St. Josemaria spoke about the Shrine of Torreciudad which was currently under construction.
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF TORRECIUDAD*
Virgin of Torreciudad, who demonstrates your compassion to those who request your protection: help us to be faithful to our Christian vocation, seeking holiness through ordinary work and daily occupations. We beg you for peace in the family: so that we are always united to each other, and love each other more every day.
Lead us to the life of grace, and accompany us to always return to Jesus by confessing our sins in the sacrament of Penance. Protect the Church, the Holy Father, the bishops, priests and deacons, and the faithful people so that we may bring to all parts of the world the saving power of the Gospel of your Son Jesus Christ, who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
*Unofficial translation from Spanish
Official website of the Shrine of Torreciudad: