In the eighteenth Century, in Colombia, Maria Meneses de Quiñones, who was descendant from indigenous Chiefs of Potosi, used to walk the distance of six and a quarter miles separating her village from another village called Ipiales.
One day in 1754, when she approached the bridge over the river Guáitara at a place called Las Lajas (flat and smooth stones), a terrible storm broke. Very scared, the poor Indigenous, found refuge in a cave next the road. Feeling anxious and alone, she began to invoke Our Lady of the Rosary, whose patronage had become popular in the region thanks to the Dominicans.
Then she felt someone touched her back and called her name. She turned around, but saw nothing. With great fear, she fled to Potosí. Some days later, Mary returned to Ipiales bringing on her back her daughter Rosa, who was deaf. When they reached the cave Guáitara, she sat down to rest on a stone. She had not finished settling in, when the girl got off his back and began to climb on the rocks of the cave, exclaiming : " !Mommy, Mommy !, Here is a lady in white with a child in her arms "
Maria was out of her mind from terror, for it was the first time she heard her daughter speaking. And, moreover, she did not see the figures described by the girl anywhere. Very nervous and afraid, she took the girl and put her on her back again and left to Ipiales. Once there, she told some relatives and friends what had happened, but nobody believed her.
Once Maria arranged her affairs in Ipiales, he returned to her home in Potosi. When she reached the place where the cave was located, without hesitation, she passed through the front entrance, and then Rosa shouted, "Mommy, the Lady in white is calling me out!"
Maria could not see anything. She was extremely frightened, so hastened to take the child away from there. When she got home, told the story to her friends about what had happened. In this way, very soon the entire region learned the mystery of the cave, which everyone knew, because it was right next to a very busy road.
The appearance of the Virgin with baby Jesus
Some days later, Rosa disappeared from her home. Maria in anguish searched for her everywhere but could not find her, and then her mother's heart got her to realize that her daughter should have gone to the cave, as she often said that the lady in white called her out. So he hurried to the cave Guáitara, and she rejoiced that her mother's heart had not deceived her. She saw her daughter kneeling in front of lady in white playing, in a loving and familiar way with the child, who had come down from the arms of his mother to allow the girl enjoy his divine and sublime tenderness. Maria kneeled down before such beautiful sight; she had seen the holy Virgin for the first time.
Maria, afraid of getting looked down by her relatives and neighbors, who had not believed what she had already told them, chose keeping quiet about it. She began to frequent the cave, and step by step filled it up with wild flowers and tallow candles which her daughter helped her put on the stone pathway.
Time passed, but the secret was known by Rosa and Maria, until the day the girl fell seriously ill and then soon died. Mary, very distressed, decided to take the girl's body before the Lady of Guáitara at her feet. Once there, she reminded the Virgin all the flowers and candles Rosa used to bring her and asked her to bring her back to life.
Overwhelmed by the non-stop sad mother begging, the holy Virgin got her Divine Son the miracle of the resurrection of the little Rosa. Full of joy, Mary left to Ipiales. She arrived at ten in the evening. Once there, she told all her relatives the amazing events occurred. Those who were already asleep, got up; They had the church bell rang, and a huge crowd gathered in front of the church of the village. Dawn was coming, and everyone headed to the cave. They arrived at dawn.
At six in the morning, they were already at LAS LAJAS. There was no room to doubt about the miracle. From the cave awesome lights came out. And, there on the stone wall, was forever the image of the holy virgin.
Sanctuary of Our lady of LAS LAJAS
The beautiful sanctuary in Gothic style, is sitting on the site of the miracle in Guáitara, in the Colombian Andes. At only 7 km from the city of Ipiales and 11 kms Rumichaca bridge, which connects Colombia and Ecuador. It is a place of extraordinary beauty chosen by the holy Mother to lavishing her love. The Basilica is also a beautiful master piece built on the slope of the river. The image is in the central spot on the altar
On every September 16, date of her apparition, thousands of pilgrims come to the sanctuary to honor and pray together next to her.
HISTORY OF THE FOUR TEMPLES
First Temple (1754)
When the news came up, it spread to Ipilaes and its surroundings, then the construction of the first Rustic Church took place, by Fray Gabriel Villafuerte, in 1754.
Second Temple (1858-1893)
In 1769, Fray Luis Herrero granted permission to Manuel Ribera for the collect of alms and in Colombia and Ecuador. On April 21, 1769, Eusebio Mejia y Navarro (Labor Priest), started the construction of the second temple, which was finished 7 years later.
Third Temple (1859-1893)
It was built by Father José María Burbano y Lara, with the lead of the Ecuadorian architect, Mariano Aulestia and Simón Atapuma. The Priest Henry Collins, was commanded by the Chaplaincy to drill out the venue in order to produce a beautiful artificial waterfall
Fourth Temple (1916)
The 1st of January of 1916, took place the blessing of The Foundation Stone of the current Temple. The Chaplains José María Cabrera, Ángel María Chamorro, Justino C. Mejia y Mejia, along with the Architects Lucindo Espinosa (From Nariño) and Gualberto Pérez (Ecuadorian), took part on its construction, along with many labor workers who quietly made possible the construction of this majestic temple. The Sanctuary, from the XVI century, is composed by three roofed wings with Crucería vaults, Three towers end in needle shape, adorned with lumps and fronds; big windows, rosettes, flying buttresses and pinnacles are part of the external lay out.