Recently, my fellow colleague John Siebenmorgen and I had the privilege of traveling to Quito, the colonial capital city of Ecuador. We were part of a large contingent of TFP volunteers who came to assist the Conceptionist nuns of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in moving the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Good Success to the upper choir of their church. We also had the honor of presenting thousands of prayer petitions on behalf of the American TFP, its supporters and friends, at the feet of Our Lady.
Passing through the ancient wooden doors of the monastery church, I paused for a long moment to take in the impressive scene that laid before my eyes. Hundreds of Ecuadorians filled the spacious baroque church to pay homage to their heavenly patroness, reciting the rosary together and singing hymns in Spanish. The majestic statue of Our Lady of Good Success had been moved from her usual place above the golden altar to a table near the communion rail, ready to be transported to the upper choir. A large group of devotees crowded at the communion rail, eagerly handing young TFP volunteers their belongings to have touched to the statue.
While there are many other churches in the beautiful city of Quito that are certainly larger and more ornate, it soon became evident that this church was very special. I could not help but sense an overwhelming aura of grace that seemed to radiate from it. It was as if the finger of the Mother of God had touched this very spot.
Indeed, it was in this very convent, four centuries ago, that the Queen of Heaven chose to appear three times to a saintly nun and mystic named Mother Marianna de Jesus Torres. Addressing herself as the Mother of Good Success, the Virgin Mary requested that a statue be made in her size and likeness and placed in the church where she would rule over the whole convent. This request was promptly carried out. When the statue was nearly finished, the artist went out to town to buy the finest materials for completing the face. But upon his return, he was astounded to find that the statue’s face had been miraculously finished, not by human hands, but by angels!
Carrying the thousands of intentions, we weaved our way through the dense crowd, with some difficulty, towards the statue. Solemnly placing the sheets at Our Lady’s feet, we remained kneeling in prayer for a long time, earnestly beseeching that she listen to the pleas of her suffering children and intercede on behalf of our sinful and broken nation.
Our Lady truly smiled at her American children that day. We felt overwhelmed not only by the enormous display of devotion to the Mother of Good Success by the Ecuadorian people, but of our fellow Americans at home as well. Gazing at that most regal and maternal face, shaped by heavenly hands, I felt calm and assured that she was hearing our supplications and would promptly answer our prayers. But those extraordinarily expressive eyes seemed to promise far greater things to come; that is, her triumph and reign over the souls of men.
It was a truly incredible trip, and I hope that perhaps someday, you will have the opportunity to come and discover this treasure of graces for yourself.