Miraculous story of Our Lady’s intercession September 29, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Holy suffering, manhood, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Victory, Virtue.
From the biography of Saint Rose of Lima by Sister Mary Alphonsus O.SS.R., a tale of men saved from desperate straits by their devotion to Our Lady (all images taken from New Liturgical Movement. They show the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary/Convent of Santo Domingo in Lima) :
In November, 1605, a strange procession made its way from the city gate of Lima, Peru to the Calle de Santo Domingo, passing the home of Rose Flores and entering the Church of St. Dominic where our Saint so often prayed. It was led by a tall man with a well nourished look. He was clad in rough animal skins; his beard was long and his hair streamed behind him as he walked. He carried a cross formed of two timber beams, coarse and unplaned. Behind him walked his ten followers dressed in the same way, their skin blackened by exposure to the sun. Unlike thier leader, they were emaciated and showed signs of great fatigue. They had come on foot from Callao [the major port serving Lima, perhaps 20 miles away at that time] to thank Our Lady of the Rosary for their deliverance from a deserted island.
Who were these Robinson Crusoes and how did they find themselves stranded? They were passengers from a ship which had hit calm weather and, with provisions almost depleted, had been carried to an island. The eleven men had offered to go ashore to search for food and water. Armed with a few weapons, they had braved the wild, only to find that the island contained nothing but jungle. There were a few berries and fruit trees, but no other food.
The adventurers cut their way back to the shore to report their findings, only to see the ship disappearing in the distance. The wind had shifted as soon as they went ashore and the captain had put out from the island. There were abandoned.
For two years they eked out a painful existence on the island, living in constant danger of death. Besides the savage beasts, they had hunger and storm and sun as their tormentors. They were devoured by insects, maddened by monotony and inaction. Only one among them never lost hope. This was the corpulent man with the streaming locks who now led their procession. He was Martin Barravenido, a native of Fuente del Maestre in Extremadura [a hard land that trained many hard men, like Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro] . A man of firm faith and practical wisdom, he had refused to give up his hold on life. He was devoted to Mary and her Rosary; in this he put his trust. If he continued to pray for deliverance, she would not fail him.
Little by little, he had restored the spirits of most of his companions. On that deserted island they knelt each day and prayed before a crude wooden cross which Barravenido had made. At last, one joyful day as they peered at the horizon, they saw the sails of a ship. It sighted their signals and approached them rapidly. In delirious jubilation they shouted and waved. But one of them was on his knees, weeping his thanks to Our Lady. It was the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary, 1605.
At Barravenido’s urging the men had made a vow. If Our Lady delivered them, they would make a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to her chapel of the Rosary in St. Dominic’s Church, Lima. It was this vow that they now fulfilled as they plodded to Lima from Callao. Exhausted as they were by two years of frightful malnutrition, they had wished to make this gesture of gratitude to Mary.
That their pilgrimage would draw all eyes upon them had been farthest from their minds. But even at the seaport they saw that such was the case. People had flocked from Lima to welcome them. As they passed, people knelt and recited the Rosary with tears of devotion. It was as good as a mission. All Lima and Callao seemed to press them into St. Dominic’s; what had been meant as a private visit by eleven men had become a fiesta. Thousands of rosaries were recited that day before the miraculous statue. Our Lady and the Infant Jesus showered graces on their clients; the confessionals were full and long lines of penitents waited to be absolved.
Rose, who had prepared the altar of Our Lady that morning with special love, felt an inexpressible joy as she joined the throng in prayer in the chapel which was her charge…….
On the following day Rose met Martin Barravenido when he came again to Our Lady’s chapel of the Rosary. She was just finishing her sacristy work when Brother Martin de Porres [Can you imagine having not one, but two such Saints in a city at the same time?!? Lima had about 22,000 people at this time. But it was more than two. The Archbishop of Lima of that time, Toribio de Mogrovejo, is also canonized. Such was the faith of many Spaniards during that heroic age.] brought him to meet her. With accents rich in emotion, the grateful man retold his story…….
“And now, what do you think I should do to repay my debts of thanks for this favor?” he asked Rose.
“I do not know,” she answered softly. Then her eyes flashed. “A whole lifetime would not be enough!” she added with feeling.
………Rose said the promised prayers and practiced patience, but she did not have to wait long to learn their issue. Only three weeks later the middle-aged Barravenido had taken his place among the lay brother novices at Holy Rosary. It was a courageous act, one worthy of so generous a soul. Through the years of his postulancy and novitiate Rose saw him seldom, but as soon as he was professed he was made porter of the convent with Brother Martin. It was a strange coincidence that threw them together in their work, for both were “fray Martin.” He and Martin de Porres became fast friends. His humble, simple piety won the admiration of Martin de Porres, who often related to Rose conversations which he had had with Barravenido.
So there is no particular hook to end this story. We don’t know the fate of the other 10 men. We can presume that Martin Barravenido died in the odor of sanctity if he was so highly regarded by Saint Martin de Porres. The saving of those men from such desperate straits seems a clear miracle of Our Lady’s intercession to me. I think that is sufficient story in and of itself, as was the outpouring of Grace into the lives of the people of Lima who shared in that miraculous event.
I think the point is this: devotion to Our Lady, piety, striving for sanctity are always rewarded by God. Not always so visibly as in this case, but God gives us richly, sometimes in ways we don’t expect or even want. I think this, also: the man who led the prayers that resulted in the rescue gave a proper thanksgiving in devoting his life even more to God and His Church than he had previously. A reminder there for us to perhaps be even more thankful to God for all the myriad benefits and graces He bestows on us so constantly, and which we (if you are anything like me) so often fail to recognize. It is easy to become so focused on the crisis in the Church and the (generally) small problems of our lives that we lose sight of the big picture of God’s great largess to us his fallen creatures. Pious examples like this help remind me to always have great thanks in my heart to God for our Church, my conversion, my family, and so much else.
I pray you found the story edifying!