Monthly Archives: June 2023

OUR LADY OF JUQUILA, Juquila, Oaxaca


Despite its remote location the shrine of Our Lady of Juquila in Oaxaca is one of the most important religious sites in the state. Two million people travel there annually. The shrine is located half-way between the city of Oaxaca and the town of Puerto Escondido on the coast. And what a marvel of a trip it is! It is an experience of stupendous, beautiful mountainous scenery with untold hairpin turns! Definitely not for the faint of heart!

And our Lady of Juquila has the most fascinating history—

In 1522 Dominican friar Jordan de Santa Caterina arrived in Oaxaca, bringing with him a diminutive wooden statue (she is only 30 cm tall) from Spain. He was the first missionary to bring Christianity to the region and was also the Master of Novices for his Order. The petite statue accompanied him everywhere in his work of evangelization. When he was leaving Oaxaca to work in another location, he gave his beloved statue to a young servant who loved the statue as much as he did. He lived in the village of Amialtepec and placed the statue on an altar in his hut.

And soon—miracles abounded! She became known as “The Virgin of the Afflicted” who answered so many prayers. So many miracles occurred that her fame “exploded.”

In time church authorities built a church for her in Amialtepec but disaster occurred in 1633. The entire town, including the church, was destroyed by fire! “But what became of the miraculous statue?” you might well ask.

Well, to everyone’s shock, the statue survived the flames intact. Not even its robes or its hair was damaged by the fire. It was the only object in the entire town which survived the holocaust. With this miraculous event, her fame spread even more!

In 1716 Bishop Angel Maldonado issued a decree that the image be moved to Santa Catarina Juquila where a sumptuous temple was built in her honour. It was constructed between the 18th and 19th centuries and is a masterpiece of understated neoclassical and baroque elements.

“A constant flow of pilgrims” arrives to pay homage to Our Lady of Juquila, particularly on her Dec. 8th feastday. She has transformed the once-sleepy town of Juquila into a “miraculous little place.” On Oct. 8, 2014, she was papally crowned, “joining her previously crowned Oaxaca sister, Our Lady of Soledad,” who was crowned in 1909.

You can read the story of La Soledad in the Madonnas of Mexico website archives of May 2021.