Our Lady of Andacollo

Our Lady of Andacollo at Parroquia N.S. de Andacollo, Santiago
Our Lady of Andacollo at Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Andacollo, Santiago

Our Lady of the Rosario of Andacollo, the only distinctly Chilean term for the Virgin Mary, refers to a small statue found by an indigenous person near the mines of Andacollo at the beginning of the Conquest of Chile. Likely, the image was left there by some soldier who had fled the destruction of La Serena in 1549.

After more than four centuries of veneration in the small town that bears her name, the statue of Our Lady of Andacollo was solemnly crowned on December 26, 1901 by decree of the Holy See. In recognition of devotion beyond the borders of Chile, Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro decreed on June 15, 1899, in accord with the desires of Pope Leo XIII, that the holy image at Andacollo would be «crowned with a crown of gold.» When Claretian priests assumed leadership of the sanctuary in 1900, they implemented the decree.

The royal jewels for the «Chinita,» as the Virgin is called, and the Child Jesus in her arms were entrusted to the prestigious Maison Biais of Paris. Local fundraising largely paid for the crown.

Here is a short video about the origin of the image:

The town of Andacollo, with its venerated image is visited by thousands from near and far, and is filled with colors, dances, and music performed by numerous Confraternities and dance groups, whose principal function is to carry and accompany the holy image during solemn processions.

Four churches have been built on the site to the Virgin. The first was constructed in the 16th century, and another in the 17th century, but it only survived until 1776. The third church was constructed in the 18th century, having undergone numerous repairs after earthquakes. In this church resides the image of the Virgin most of the year. Finally, between 1873 and 1893 a new church was constructed which has been declared a Minor basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

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