In 1754, the woman Maria Mueces and her deaf-mute daughter Rosa were caught in a terrible storm in a river valley in Colombia.
Desperate for help, they sought refuge between some large stones, when suddenly Rosa (who, as a mute, didn’t talk) cried out, “The Mestiza is calling me!” Her mother looked up and saw that her daughter was pointing toward a beautiful image on a rock of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, illuminated by flashes of lightening.
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The place quickly became a pilgrimage site, with many miracles reported. In one version of the story, Rosa became very sick and died soon after they found the image, but was brought back to life after her mother brought her to the image.
The image itself is still there on the rocks, and depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven, holding the baby Jesus, with St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic on either side praying.
Apart from appearing miraculously in the first place, the image has other incredible properties. According to one source:
“Geologists from Germany bored core samples from several spots in the image. There is no paint, no dye, nor any other pigment on the surface of the rock. The colors are the colors of the rock itself. Even more incredible, the rock is perfectly colored to a depth of several feet!”
Several shrines have been built on the site, with the most recent one built in the early 20th century. And what a shrine it is! The church is built up on one side of the valley, and then has a bridge to the other side.