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PEDERNEIRA

Marian shrine located in Portugal where a little statue of Mary is honored under the title of "Our Lady of Nazareth." This image is believed to have been brought from the East in the eighth century by a monk from Nazareth and enthroned in a monastery at Lerida, but soon lost. It was rediscovered in 1182 by a knight in an abandoned cave. Legend tells that on the feast of Holy Cross the knight, out hunting as usual, gave chase to large stag. In his excitement he did not notice the steep cliff toward which the stag was leading him. The stag plunged over the cliff, and in that moment the knight discerned the animal as the devil. Realizing the imminent danger, the knight prayed to Mary and her Son for help. The horse's footprints are still visible today where they became impressed in the solid rock in the frenzied attempt to stop. In gratitude the knight built for his beloved statue a shrine that was soon replaced by a small chapel. Seventeen villages in the vicinity share the little figure as they give honor in a two-day celebration on Mary's feast, but in this case the situation is reversed--Mary takes the yearly pilgrimage, while her people remain at home to welcome her.

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

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