Newsletter of the District of Asia

 Jan - April 2007

Our Lady of Quito Queen of Ecuador
1906 – 2006

(First English translation, by Fr. Paul Kimball SSPX,
La Dolorosa de Quito, Reina del Ecuador,
with authorization of the publisher, Libreria Espiritual, Quito)

Part II

Verification of the Testimonies

What would you have done, dear reader, if you had to pass judgment upon what was being said? Of course, before proving all this, you would need to investigate. How? By interrogating the witnesses— you will say—, by examining their credibility, the possibility of fraud, a collective suggestion, an optical illusion…

Well, the ecclesiastical authority did this, and with all the rigor of the “devil’s advocate.” Seven days after the event the canonical process began, without the

Dr. Camillo Ponce Enríquez

Dr. Camillo Ponce Enríquez, has been the first conservative candidate elected to the presidency after 64 years of liberal government. He had studied in the College of St. Gabriel, the college where the image in the miraculous picture of Our Lady of Quito had opened and closed its eyes in 1906, for his high school studies. From 1956-1960 he was president of the Republic of Ecuador. Upon his election, he publicly thanked God and the Dolorosa, in front of 40 diplomatic delegations, for his electoral victory.

participation of any Jesuits, it appointed a commission of scientists and another of doctors. They would take a thorough declaration from each one of the forty witnesses, and under oath. (Considering whom they were dealing with and about what they were dealing with, were the forty witnesses going to be in agreement about swearing falsely?)

At that moment, the current Vicar Capitular1— the diocese was vacant— ordered on April 27th that “the aforesaid picture be concealed and nothing be publicized in the press or from the pulpit relating to this event, as long as its validity and authenticity have not been decided.”

An ever prudent temporary prohibition, yet for the miracle to be verified, this heartless prohibition had been maintained indefinitely. As a matter of fact, at the same time, he named the theologians and the scientists who would conduct the investigation. They were strict (meriting later the praises of the Sacred Congregation), but not too slow: they took one month.

On the 29th, in the study hall of the boarding students the instruction of the process began. The Vicar Capitular, accompanied by the Secretary of the Chancellery and of the Senior Notary, reunited the forty witnesses and commanded that each one, without communicating with the rest of the others, write what it was that he saw, in such a way that he would be able to confirm it under oath. On the first of May a canon was commissioned as instructor Judge, assisted by the Senior Notary, and on the 5th of May they appeared in person, for: 1) the examination of the written statements, 2) their ratification under oath, 3) to propose to the witnesses a series of questions: if during those days they had heard something about that matter, if there was sufficient light, if at the beginning they were afraid and later at peace, and what effect had been produced in him and his conduct.

Concerning these statements, all agreed on the reality of the phenomenon, and it seems that at the beginning they were trying not to admit it. Someone went up to the picture, another went up to the partition to see it more closely. There was enough light (the room was illuminated by four light bulbs producing 16 foot-candles each) and the exclamations in unison: “now she opens, now she closes,” lasting for more that a quarter of an hour, leave no room for doubts. “The existence of a marvelous prodigy is evident,” concluded the instructor judge of the process. All also confirmed that the movement of the eyes was always full of majesty, and when opening them her gaze remained steadfast.

miraculous picture

The miraculous picture yearly returns to the beautiful Jesuit church next to the College of St. Gabriel on the anniversary of the miracle. On the 100th anniversary ecclesiastical and civil dignitaries were invited to attend a private ceremony of the placing of the picture high above the large main altar. In front of the this altar of the Compañia are seated: H.G. Raúl Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, Archbishop (2nd from the left), H.E. Néstor Herrera Heredia, President of the Episcopal Conference and Bishop of the diocese of Machala (3rd from the left), Dr. Alejandro Serrano Aguilar, vice- president (4th from the left), Wilfrido Lucero, President of the Congress (5th from the left), General Paco Moncayo, mayor of Quito (6th from the left), Ramiro González Jaramillo, governor of the state of Pinchincha (7th from the left).

Once the event had been proved, the commission of scientists, after having sworn to work truthfully and diligently, reconstructed the scene in the same place, at the same hour, with the same circumstances, and examined the picture… about which fact “the subscribers will deduce: that the aforesaid phenomenon could not have occurred as the result of the light nor other physical conditions in which the picture was located. Moreover the movement of the eyes occurred many times in each instance, as proven by the fact that everyone present observed it at the same time; and its size is such that at the distance of the onlookers a movement of the eyelids could be perceived with no room for doubt; nor could it be an optical illusion because it was seen simultaneously by all…”

Was there something that remained to be proven? Yes, the mental health of the forty eyewitnesses, which is what the medical commission carried out. From the 17th to the 19th of May two eminent doctors examined each one separately and by himself. The examinations were lengthy, the result of which was, in brief: that they all possessed good health without any nervous illness or predisposition towards such phenomena, but it was just the opposite, as far as excluding any influence, no one tried to influence anyone, nor was it admissible that the youngest boys in particular were able to trick all the rest. The only one who would have had the power to do this, by his authority, was the one most hesitant to believe and he even took the students away from there.

After all these preceding events the committee of nine theologians studied in their turn the case and reported favorably. Finally the Vicar Capitular, mindful of all the above, pronounced the final word:

Pastoral Resolution

“1. The incident that took place on April 20 at the College of the Jesuit Fathers is proven to be historically certain. 2. The prodigy, under the circumstances in which it took place, can not be explained by natural laws. 3. This prodigy, as much on account of what preceded it as by what followed it, can not be attributed to any diabolical influence. In consequence one can believe it, with a purely human faith; and one may offer the picture which occasioned it the public veneration permitted by the Church, and to pray before it with legitimate confidence. Given at the Archiepiscopal Palace on May 31, 1906.” The ecclesiastical authority officially authenticated the picture on June 10.

On the same May 31, the Vicar Capitular gave an exhortation to the faithful:

“The occurrence of which we treat,” he was saying, “has presented itself with so many and such serious motives of rational credibility that although one can cease to believe it without sin, it seems difficult for anyone to reject it without straying from the norms of the most rigorous criteriology.”

And he commented, “It is not possible to pass over in silence certain circumstances. The youths are witnesses to that fact that they begin to live in a world trying to deny the supernatural and at the very time when attempts are increasing to uproot from the hearts of the youth every vestige of the faith.

“On the other hand the marvelous phenomenon is caused by a simple and pious image of the Sorrowful Virgin, a favorite advocation of Ecuadorians, and especially during times of calamities it appeals to the devotion and the heartfelt sympathy of all the faithful. God has sought to make known what is not useless, but that supplication has been heard quite literally with which we so many times invoke the Heart of Mary saying to her, ‘Turn thy eyes of mercy towards us.’ She has indeed turned them, so tearful and tender; she has shown herself a Mother, because mothers have the secret of communicating with a look, of speaking with their eyes to their children, of teaching them, of encouraging them, of admonishing them, with just a look. Will it be a look of affection or of sad forebodings which Mary has directed to our youth?”

The Effects of the Miracle

The look of our Mother was not of sad forebodings. In the first place, for the seers it was a great spiritual impulse. They themselves declared that they had noticed it in their conduct and piety. Some were not falling asleep when reciting the rosary, others had made the resolution of avoiding sins, and to communicate more frequently. Father Prefect also noticed it: “The effect that was produced upon the children was for the better: They have formed a group or association that aims at combating bad conversations, and they did this spontaneously, and their fervor and good conduct has greatly improved.” The very next day, April 22, they made a collection for putting a better frame on the picture.

miraculous picture

The annual "Novena" processions with the miraculous picture at 4am through the streets of Quito held each year for nine days after a 3am Mass. Fireworks accompany the singing of the rosary and litany of Our Lady in cheerful Spanish melodies accompanied by an accordion.

Fervor was not only in those students, but in all their followers, being greatly devoted to the Sorrowful Mother of the College. And overflowing the College, it spread throughout all Quito, through all Ecuador, where her image is found on most of the hearths, and finally through all the world, especially in England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, the United States, Columbia, Panama, Australia, Africa… St. Pius X approved the process and requested a copy of the image, which he placed on the desk in his office.

It is enough that the Mother of God opened and closed her eyes for the city to have felt itself shaken and the government bewildered. The decree of expulsion of the Jesuits went to the wastebasket. And did the rulers convert? There are some, like the brothers of the rich man, who do not convert even if the dead rise again from the dead, according to Christ’s words. It is the mystery of obstinate hardness of heart, of persistence in sin, and the refusal of grace.

The Miracle Repeats Itself

The Most Holy Virgin wished to respond to the wave of enthusiasm that rose up towards her: 1) On Thursday June 7, the boarding students and several priests were in the church after supper praying the rosary before the sacred image, and when they finished they once again saw the prodigy. The bell was rung and the whole community gathered. The prodigy lasted for a quarter of an hour. Moreover the picture of the Virgin sometimes displayed profound sadness, and at other times even happiness. On the 11th, declarations were taken in the Archiepiscopal Chancellery from those who saw it. 2) On the 13th, two others say that they have seen it: Doctor Emmanuel María Salazar and his brother Nicholas. The former, who was converted, recounts in his sworn declaration that the face of the image was transformed with expressions of mildness, sweetness and love, and that “what is greater than the movement of the eyes is that she deeply moved my heart.” 3) On Sunday the 24th, at 5:30 in the afternoon the prodigy repeated itself in the presence of Father Bernard, Brother Miranda, four students of the College and five students from the Christian Schools. 4) On the 26th two Dominican priests saw it. 5) On Tuesday, July 3, many people saw the miracle. 6) On July 5th, Father Alphonsus Laenen, well known and remembered in Manabi, says that he saw the Virgin crying, but he is the only witness who speaks of crying.


1 A Vicar Capitular is the administrator of a vacant diocese.
2 Manabi is a western province of Ecuador on the coast.


Home | Newsletters | Library | Vocations | History | Links | Search | Contact