Our Lady Of The Pillar

Francisco Goya c. 1769 Our Lady of the Pillar

On the Fourth Station of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa Jesus Meets His Mother.


Ramon Bayeu c. 1780 Our Lady of the Pillar

Jesus Meets His Mother

At the Third Station of the Cross Jesus falls for the first time. A few steps from there Jesus meets his mother. Our beautiful Blessed Mother Mary is with her Son every step of the way. This was the beginning of His agony. For this reason our Lord knew that He could draw strength from His Mother. The Bible does not tell us what words of encouragement Mary spoke to her Son. But we know that her words gave Jesus enough strength to endure until the end of His Crucifixion.

For many years I played the part of Mary on the Via Dolorosa. Our team reenacted the Passion of Christ in Jerusalem for over 30 years. I have absolutely no training in acting, but when it came to this role I felt our Blessed Mother Mary’s pain. My tears were real.  As I reach to touch Jesus’ face to tell Him how much I love Him, my heart was truly breaking.

The Mother’s Role

As long as your children are alive, you will always be their mother.  My children are grown and have families of their own; however, when they are experiencing any pain, emotional or physical, we go through the pain with them. My role has changed into being their silent support. Not a day passes without me lifting them  up in prayer. When they are going through a difficult trial my prayers for them are fervent. These motherly instincts are innate because we mothers have the best role model in the Virgin Mary,

Mary, The Mother of God

I find it disingenuous that some people outside of the Catholic faith  have yet to come to and understanding of Mary’s true role. Because  she is the Mother of God, much credence should be given her.  Consider Jesus’ opinion of His Blessed Mother; would He not take care of her? Would it offend Him if people spoke ill of her? Jesus loved, respected and protected His Mother. We should follow His example. The Virgin Mary is the mother to the world. She has appeared to many troubled nations to guide and instruct them and to forewarn them of coming chastisements. I will speak of the first apparition.

The Great Commission

With the authority of the Resurrected Christ the First Commission was sent forth.

In 2015 our missionary group visited  Zaragoza, Spain. This is the first known apparition of the Blessed Mother.  At the Great Commission, the 12 disciples dispersed to preach the Gospel to the world. Saint James the Great’s journeys took him to the Iberian Peninsula, which is modern day Spain/Portugal. In 40 AD the Holy Spirit led Saint James to Spain. But before his great commission he met with Mary, the Mother of God,  for a special blessing for his journey.

Saint James was discouraged because the pagans were not responding to his message, so as he sat at the edge of the Ebro River he prayed for the intercession of Mary. This is the same outspoken James that Jesus referred to as one of the “sons of thunder.” This clearly  is an indication that at times we all need encouragement.

Answered Prayer

Saint James heard a choir of angels and, looking to the sky, he saw a bright light. With angels surrounding the Blessed Mother, she appeared to him to offer encouragement.  In Her gentle voice She told Saint James not to worry, because the people to whom he preached would be converted. Mary appeared to Saint James atop a pillar of jasper carried by angels. Our holy Mother Mary handed Saint James a small wooden statue of herself holding the Christ Child. The date was October 12 in the year 40 AD, and  the Blessed Mother asked that a church be built on that spot in her honor. In Mary’s words:

“This place is to be my house and the image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build…and the people of this land will honor greatly my Son Jesus.”

We must take into account that this first apparition of the Virgin took place while she was still  alive and living in Jerusalem. The Virgin’s bilocation to Zaragoza, Spain was meant to encourage Saint James on his mission. The Virgin also told Saint James to return to Jerusalem.  In 44 AD Saint James was the first apostle to be martyred by King Herod Agrippa. His body was brought back to Spain for burial in Compostela, Spain.

Our Lady of the Pillar

This beautiful basilica  is located on the edge of the Ebro River. This is the first church dedicated to Mary. This pillar was carried down by angels. It is still standing and scientists have yet to find the identical material made of this granite. Equally important the pillar plunges into the earth with no end. Coupled with the fact that this heavenly material never gets dusty, in the 2000 years of its existence it has never needed dusting!

Spanish Civil War

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)  Our Lady of the Pillar was bombed. Visitors can see the damage in the ceiling of the basilica but the bombs never detonated. Instead the deactivated  bombs are on display in the church.


The Pillar and the Statue of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child are both venerated. Like most pilgrims, we were able to touch the small statue that our Blessed Mother Mary gave to St. James.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, fill us with the same fire You gave Saint James to preach. May You season our words with love, and may we look to Your heavenly light. Lord, send Your beautiful Mother Mary to our aid when we are discouraged. Amen.

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