Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tom & Susan's Pilgrimage: Our Lady of Lapa

Bom Dia (Found our “Cheat Sheet”) … tomorrow it will be “Buenos Dias”.

 This is our last full day in Portugal and we have three Shrines to visit today.  Two are dedicated to Our Lady of Lapa and the other is to Our Lady of Remedies.  This should prove to be an interesting day because all three places are in very remote areas … a distance from each other.
We woke up at 7:00 A.M. after a marvelous sleep.  We had set our alarm clock so that we could attend the 8AM Mass back at Our Lady of Samiero Basilica.  Susan’s foot felt a little better, although I had to carry her into the bathroom to shower … ha), but I knew she was still in pain, so I got out the “maybe we will need” bag that I brought with us.  Found an ace bandage and wrapped her foot. still havn’t used the heating pad)  It seemed to help and off we went … Susan with cane in hand.  I told this comes in handy if not for walking then for first floor rooms and other necessities)
I didn’t want to push my luck again with driving on to the Basilica grounds, so we parked in the regular parking lot.  We were the only car there.  Sure that Mass was going to take place, we walked to the Basilica.  There were about 20 people inside including several Religious Sisters and locals.  Mass was just beautiful in this Blessed Shrine with the Priests voice echoing throughout.  I even snapped a few pictures which I rarely do during Mass.  But I waited until after the Final Blessing to do so.
Then we were back to the hotel for a great breakfast.  We packed up and headed out to Our Lady of Lapa … a/k/a “The Rock”.  It was only about a 20 miles away, but the driving was intense to say the least.  The roads in to the mountains were narrow and, at one turn, the road was impassable as far as I was concerned.  Just couldn’t do it.  So, I backed up and kept going straight ahead rather than turn.  “Princess” finally decided to cooperate and she re-calculated her directions to get us to Our Lady of Lapa (“The Rock”) … it even said “Rock” on the GPS screen.
This place is just incredible.  We had traveled here knowing that it was not open … we only wanted to see the place where Our Blessed Mother appeared in 1498 … and to deliver a very, very  important Special Intention directly to Our Mother.  This Special Intention is and was for Karina since it is a story of a little girl who could not speak.  When the little girl found the Statue of the Virgin and brought it home, her irritated Mother through it on the fire infuriated … at this point, the young girl miraculously spoke for the first time in her life … “Don’t burn it”, she cried, “It is The Lady of Lapa”.   Karina … our Prayers are that you will also receive the miracle of speech.  We love you.
When we arrived at “The Rock” of Our Lady of Lapa, we were greeted by a flock of goats that were being shepherded by a dog.  The dog wasn’t too happy to see us and was barking loudly.  I backed the car up to the very bottom steps to “The Rock” to get away from the goats and, of course, from the barking dog as he stood about 50 feet away “daring” us to get out of the car.

I got out our trusty cane( another use) just in case the dog decided to get aggressive (not to hurt him but hoping to scare him).  We slowly got out of the car, left both of our doors open and just stood there for a while.  The dog kept barking, but I saw his tail begin to wag after he had thoroughly inspected us.  I felt much better and said “OK … let’s go”.  We shut the car doors and proceeded up the few steps to “The Rock”.  We peered in through the iron gates and Prayed to Our Lady.  We Prayed, in particular, for Karina to gain her sense of speech.  We walked around the area of “The Rock” in amazement … hard to explain.  We then lit a candle to Our Lady of Lapa and left two other Special Intentions with her.  It was time to say “See You Later” to “Our Lady of Lapa”.  (See Photos).  They moved the original Statue of Our Lady of Lapa to another province about 120 miles south of here because of the remoteness of the original  site and to be able to protect the statue of “Our Lady of Lapa”.  See the Trip Report for our third stop today at “Our Lady of Lapa 2”.

We walked back to the car and we talked about how easy it had been to find this very remote place in the middle of nowhere (easy to find … not so easy to drive to).   We had “Princess” all set for our next stop and departed.  As we were leaving, I think the dog got very angry … see photo of our Lapa 1 departure.
On to “Our Lady of Remedies” in Lamego, Portugal.  We are going to send separate Trip Reports today for our three stops.  To include all three in one email would be asking way too much of you to have to read and digest everything. 
May Our Blessed Mother answer all our prayers and keep us safe.

Tom & Susan
                                Partial story of Our Lady of Lapa

The chapel of Our Lady of Lapa is situated in the parish of Soutelo, near the town of Vieira do Minho, northern Portugal.
The only existing document that tells us the story of Our Lady of Lapa and is a written document dated 1851. This document is framed within a context of Lapa Soutelo.
The framers of the chapel were John Gill and his wife, Mrs. Margaret Smith, from the parish of St. Adrian Soutelo in 1694.
After the chapel was erected, the image of Our Lady was kept there and loved with such devotion that, in 1697, pilgrims to Rome required a perpetual fellowship with Jubilee. Nevertheless, in 1788, the image was taken to the parish of Outeiro, where another chapel was built. The reason for the transfer would be the fact that the original site was a remote place and subject profaning by thieves.
In the original place was built a small wall around the cavity and placed a cross on top of huge granite block, thus showing that this site was sacred and thus would not be forgotten.
It is the year 1805, when Our Lady of Lapa appeared before a small shepherdess in the first place where the picture had emerged. Knowing what happened, the father went to the site to see what happened. When her daughter pointed to the apparition site, there was Our Lady again. Quickly the news spread through the appearance of nearby villages, starting the first day of the pilgrimage in June. On June 10, 1805 gathered more than five hundred people on this site.
Given the enormous flow of pilgrims, the abbot Rodrigues Ramos ordered the construction of an altar beneath the granite block where the image of Our Lady had appeared.
He also ordered that the area around it was conveniently prepared in order to receive the greatest possible flow of pilgrims. Later, at the behest of Abbot Manuel Goncalves altar went through improvements as well as the podium, while other arrangements were later made by Jose Antonio Rodrigues, among others.
Today, there are many who visit this beautiful region where it Soutelo and its beautiful chapel, which is closed most of the time, opening only for certain religious ceremonies.