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Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

Our Lady of Solitude

Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

– Answered by Father Johann Roten, S.M.

Q: Describe the origins of Mary's title: Our Lady of Solitude. Are there images or feasts associated with it?

A: The Jan 31, 1941 issue of Novena Notes featured a statue of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad with the following text: 

In Spanish-speaking countries special devotion is practiced to Nuestra Señora de la Soledad or Our Lady of Solitude. This devotion was instituted to compassionate Our Lady for her solitude on Holy Saturday and is akin to the devotion practiced among the Servites on Good Friday called the Desolata. The particular statue represented on the front of today's Novena Notes is in the Sacred Heart Church at the Ayo el Chico, Jalisco, where the Novena has been inaugurated for some time.

Also, a 12/26/55 article from NCWC News Service on Our Lady of Solitude described a different festival commemorating a miraculous image in Oaxaca, Mexico:

Mexico's traditional devotion to the Mother of God was vividly demonstrated when the citizens of this entire state [Oaxaca, Mexico] paid homage to their patroness, La Virgen de Soledad, or the Virgin of the Lonely, on the Sunday before Christmas.

For several nights prior to the Sunday fiesta long, highly impressive religious processions marched to the Church of La Soledad. The scene was enhanced by the colorful paper lanterns, strung on tall poles, carried by the faithful.

The Church of Our Lady of Solitude which dates back to 1692, has an interesting history. Legend has it that a mule driver, guiding his burro train through the streets of Oaxaca, suddenly discovered he had an extra animal, carrying a huge box on his back.

Curious officials opened the box and found within the image of the Blessed Virgin of Solitude. And so, a church was built. Tourists who come to Oaxaca find an enormous boulder at the entrance marking the spot where the burro died from the weight of the box.

The patroness of Oaxaca is the special protector of sailors. Thus, in addition to elaborate gowns fashioned by women of the city and a gold and bejeweled crown, the image has shimmering pearls rimming its crown -- the gift of seamen.

Also, please note that the first hospital in what is now the USA was built at St Augustine, Florida in 1588 with the name Nostra Senora de la Soledad / Our Lady of Solitude. Finally, note that there is a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Solitude in Monterey County, California, near the town of Soledad.

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