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In September, the Pope will be visiting a shrine that's in Italy but is linked to his homeland of Argentina. It's called "Our Lady of the Fair Winds."

As the informal on-line resource Wikipedia explains: "When the Aragonese conquered Cagliari, Sardinia, from the Pisans in 1324, they established their headquarters on top of a hill that overlooked the city. The hill was known to them as Buen Ayre (or 'Bonaria' in the local language), as it was free of the foul smell prevalent in the old city (the Castle area), which is adjacent to swampland.

"During the siege of Cagliari, the Aragonese built a sanctuary to the Virgin Mary on top of the hill. In 1335, King Alfonso the Gentle donated the church to the Mercedarians, who built an abbey that stands to this day. In the years after that, a story circulated, claiming that a statue of the Virgin Mary was retrieved from the sea after it miraculously helped to calm a storm in the Mediterranean Sea. The statue was placed in the abbey. Spanish sailors, especially Andalusians, venerated this image and frequently invoked the 'Fair Winds' to aid them in their navigation and prevent shipwrecks. A sanctuary to the Virgin of Buen Ayre would be later erected in Seville.

"In the first foundation of  [the Pope's archdiocese] of Buenos Aires, Pedro de Mendoza called the city 'Holy Mary of the Fair Winds,' a name chosen by the chaplain of Mendoza's expedition, a devotee of the Virgin of Buen Ayre. Mendozaís settlement soon came under attack by indigenous peoples, and was abandoned in 1541. For many years, the name was attributed to Sancho del Campo, who is said to have exclaimed: How fair are the winds of this land!, as he arrived. But Eduardo Madero, in 1882, after conducting extensive research in Spanish archives, would ultimately conclude that the name was closely linked with the devotion of the sailors to Our Lady of Buen Ayre."

It's interesting that there's also a link between Guadalupe in another Spanish-speaking nation -- Mexico -- and a locale known as "Guadalupe" in Spain (where an image of the Blessed Mother had been buried during Moslem invasions and which preceded the site where Juan Diego saw the Blessed Mother). Astonishingly, both the Spanish and Mexican sites were named "Guadalupe" but possibly for different reasons (possibly using different meanings of the name)!

Few realize how many approved apparitions there are in South America, along with Central America.

Notes the Catholic News Service:

"Some say Latin Americans' devotion to Mary dates back to Catholicism's arrival from Spain, where such customs were common. But it gained acceptance -- often on the terms of the indigenous populations -- despite being an import brought by conquering Europeans and the missionaries who followed. 'There's a sense (in Latin America) that Mary represents the concrete manifestation of God's Presence with us in a very culturally specific and acculturated way," said Richard Coll, Latin America analyst for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 'It comes back to this role of Mary of being the acculturated presence of the religion in the sense that Mary's involvement in the culture does not appear as one' that originated from the outside.'"

Also in Argentina is Our Lady of LuJŠn, a miraculous image that was made in Brazil and sent to Argentina.

Tradition has it that a settler ordered the image of Mary Immaculate in 1630 because he intended to create a shrine in her honor to help reinvigorate the Catholic faith in Santiago del Estero, his region. After embarking from the port of Buenos Aires, the caravan carrying the image stopped at the residence of Don Rosendo Oramas, located in the present town of Zelaya. When the caravan wanted to resume the journey, the oxen refused to move. Once the crate containing the image was removed, the animals started to move again.

Given the evidence of a miracle, people believed the Virgin wished to remain there.

The image was venerated in a primitive chapel for four decades. Then the image was acquired by Ana de Matos and carried to LujŠn, where it currently resides. (John Paul II once visited.)

As we reported in The Last Secret, quoting Marian historian H. M. Gilbert,

"On August 28, 1780, the inhabitants of LujŠn were put into panic by the news of what they had long dreaded, that a huge army of ferocious Indians was sweeping the plains, massacring all in their path and advancing rapidly on the town. Utterly defenseless, the people fled to the shrine and in a body put their whole trust in their special Protectress.

"Suddenly, even as they prayed, a dense and unexpected fog rolled up and enveloped the town so that the savage hordes lost their way and passed by in another direction."

[resources: The Last Secret]

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