Cartago Travel Blog

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August 3, 2008 - Sunday 

Cartago, Costa Rica

This is a walk from San Jose to Cartago.  The whole journey was about 26 klm (20ish miles).  It was a great experience, walked with thousands and thousands of people.  Once at the destination there was a beautiful church. 

There were 2 different lines to stand in line to walk thru the church....well we stood in line to go inside the church, when we got to the front of the line we realized that we were in the line where people walk up to the alter on their knees....so we did.  Ok, the 2 people I was with made it the whole way I had to get up and walk a few feet (2 times) but I did make it to the alter on my knees....OUCH. 

After leaving the church we went to the "river" was where the statue of Mary was found.  The statue is there and it is pretty.  Brian and I got some of the holy water and brought it back to Guaplies with us.  I am thinking about using it on my students to see if it will get the demons out of them...

Below is the story.....

The legend:

On the 2nd of August 1635 Juana Pereira, a young girl went into the forest near her house to play by the river. There she found a piece of rock in the shape of the Virgin Mary with a small child. She thought is was a doll and played with it. Later she took it home and put it in her room. The next day she returned to the same spot and again found a very similar representation. That evening she returned with it and went to put it with the first one she found. However, the first one was no longer in her room. On the third day she returned to play by the river and, again, found the Virgin. This time she ran right back to her room and again, found that the ones she had taken home were not there. She then reported this to the priest in Cartago. He went with her the following day and took the statue they found there back with him to the city. There he locked it in a coffer. The next day they returned to the river to find yet another (or same?) statue there. When he returned to check the locked coffer he discovered it empty. This was taken as a sign that a church should be built on the site the statue kept returning to.

It is believed by a great many Costa Rican's that it is this virgin that protects Costa Rica from natural disasters. Every August 1st over a million Costa Rican's walk to Cartago from all over the country to commemorate the date, recently many tourists join the trip

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photo by: walterman9999