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ESTREMADURA

Site of the most popular Marian sanctuary in Spain, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Blessed Virgin is here referred to as the "Powerful Lady of Silence." The shrine statue of Our Lady with the Infant was sent by Pope St. Gregory I to St. Leander (550-600) in Spain before the Moorish conquest. To save it from capture byu the enemy, it was buried in a cave together with papers telling of its origin and to whom it belonged. Centuries passed before it was unearthed in 1326 by a cowherd who said a lovely lady had appeared to him and told him where to dig for treasure. The statue he found was made of Oriental wood, unharmed by its years of underground burial. A chapel was built to house the image. Although Estremadura is almost inaccessible to travelers, the shrine has been visited by thousands of all classes including royalty. Mary possesses a vast and costly wardrobe and some of the finest altar vestments and jewels are in the shrine's treasury. The cult of Guadalupe was at its height when Mexico's Spanish missionaries were inspired to spread her devotion in the New World, so the great American shrine to Our Lady honors her under the same title.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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