La Basílica, Pátzcuaro Michoacán, México.
GPS: 19.5150392, -101.6059129
December 8 is a date of great relevance for the Patzcuarense community. It celebrates Mary Immaculate of Health of Patzcuaro, also known Our Lady of Health or Virgin of Health, miraculous image to which thousands of people come to worship and venerate throughout the year, but particularly this holiday.
In the year of 1536, Don Vasco de Quiroga, First Bishop of Michoacán, commissioned the indigenous people of the region to make this image, which was made with cane paste, a pre-Hispanic technique used by the Purépechas to make their idols. which is used the marrow of dried corn, ground and mixed with a paste obtained from the bulb of the orchids and which is still used. Of this same paste and in Patzcuaro were also, elaborated among many other images, those of Nuestara Señora de Zapopan and Nuestra Señora de San Juan de los Lagos.
At first, the image of the Virgin of Health was placed in the chapel of the Hospital of Patzcuaro and was called “Health of the Sick”, but due to its great amount of thanks and healings to the sick, it began to be called “Our Lady of Health”, name as it is known to this day.
Over time, the large number of people and pilgrimages that began to request favors, made insufficient the space of the Chapel of the Hospital of Patzcuaro, so in 1691 began the building of the Tabernacle, a larger temple to give welcome to the faithful who visited the Virgin.
In the year of 1737, the Virgin of Health was chosen and proclaimed as Patron of Patzcuaro. Ten years later, in 1747 the Convent of the Dominicans was founded, sisters whose charge is to take care of the image.
In 1880, the Virgin was transferred to the Sagrario, where in 1899 she was crowned with pontifical authority. In that place he remained for 191 years, until his transfer to where he is currently: The Basilica of Our Lady of Health of Patzcuaro.
The beginning of the construction of the current Basilica dates back to the times of Don Vasco de Quiroga in 1543, who dreamed of a great cathedral with five naves. Due to different circumstances, this project was never completed and only the central nave was built. Same that served as a Cathedral until 1580, the year in which the diocese was moved to the city of Valladolid, now Morelia. During the following years it took the title of Parish and it was until 1924, that it was elevated to the degree of Basilica.
Currently, thousands of believers from different places, visit Patzcuaro throughout the year to ask favors from the Virgin, which is considered very miraculous by all his faithful.
According to the newspaper reports, on December 22, 1962, an individual fired ten bullets with a long-range rifle at a short distance from the virgin; three of the bullets were directed to the face and the remaining seven to the body. However, the image was not damaged, because several bullets were inexplicably diverted and others lost all their strength and fell flat just in front of the pedestal of the image. To my surprise, the huge glass that closes the dressing room with the holes of the bullets remained whole for some time until, with a strong earthquake, it tore apart. Being able to fall on the image, the great pieces could destroy it, but they fell between the altar and the image without damaging neither to the virgin nor to the faithfuls who passed in front of the dressing room. As evidence of such strange events, in the sacristy of the Basilica the rifle and some pieces of the skull are preserved with the trace of bullet impacts.
It is worth mentioning that the remains of Don Vasco de Quiroga, the beloved “Tata Vasco” of the natives, are deposited in a mausoleum inside this Basilica.