The following story is taken from A Spanish Mystic in Quito: Sor Mariana de Jesus Torres by Msgr. Luis E. Cadena y Almeida. It relates the story of Sister Mariana Torres who experienced the vision of Our Lady of Good Success. This article tells the story of the statue’s commissioning, completion and purpose. The article has been adapted for publication –Ed.
In 1599, Our Lady of Good Success appeared to Mother Mariana and prophesied future attacks against Catholicism in Ecuador. Her words, however, indicated that our Heavenly Mother had no intention of abandoning her children in their hour of trial.
The Statue: A Commission of Consolations
“During upcoming years, which will be ominous for the Church, the accursed sect of Freemasonry will take over the civil government. A cruel persecution will rage against all religious communities and descend upon this convent with special fury. Because of those wretched men, the convent would perish, but God lives and I live, and We will raise powerful defenders from their own midst. We shall place insuperable difficulties in their path; the triumph will be Ours.
“Therefore, in this convent, there will be beautiful souls who will attract the mercies of God upon their convent, upon their unworthy country and the embattled Church. These souls will not know how their God and Lord is forming them. Thus, it is the wish of my most holy Son that you command a statue of me to be made, just as you see me. Place it on the seat of the abbess so that from there I may govern my convent. In my right hand, place the crosier and the keys to the cloister as a symbol of ownership and authority.
“You will have my divine Child placed in my left arm so that, in the first place, all mortals may understand that I am powerful in appeasing divine justice and obtaining mercy and forgiveness for every sinful soul who comes to me with a contrite heart. I am the Mother of Mercy, and in me there is only goodness and love. Secondly, it will help my daughters understand that I am showing and giving them my most holy Son and their God as the model of religious perfection, as an illustration. Let them come to me, for I will lead them to Him.”
“When the tribulations of the soul and the pains of the body oppress them, and they seem to be drowning in a bottomless sea, a look at my holy statue will be for them like a star for the shipwrecked; I shall always be ready to listen to their cries and dry their tears. Tell them to ever hasten to their Mother with faith and love, for I desire to live with them and in them. With their manifold sufferings, they will preserve their convent for all time. Tell them to imitate my humility, obedience, spirit of sacrifice and absolute submission to the Divine Will. These are the wings by which my daughters who venerate the mystery of my Immaculate Conception throughout the ages will soar with mysterious agility to the highest peaks of sanctity in the silent retreat of the cloisters, seen only by the gaze of God.”
A Project Started by a Man and Finished by the Angels
Insistent in her command that a statue be made, the Blessed Virgin said to Mother Mariana: “Measure me yourself with the Franciscan cincture that you wear around your waist. Place your cord in my right hand and touch the other end to my foot.”
The happy religious, trembling with joy, love and reverence, did what Mary Most Holy ordered. The Blessed Virgin continued: “Here, my daughter, you have the measurement of your heavenly Mother; give them to my servant Francisco del Castillo and describe to him my features and bearing. He will do the exterior work, for he possesses a delicate conscience and scrupulously keeps the Commandments of God and the Church. No other will be worthy of this grace. You, on your part, help him with your prayers and humble suffering.”
Years later, in her final testament, Mother Mariana commented about a supernatural incident that occurred as the statue commissioned by Our Lady was being completed.
“As you know, [Our Lady] has always graced me with her motherly care and tenderness. She commanded me to have a statue made. It was made by a man of God, Francisco del Castillo, who already enjoys God in heaven. On the day that he planned to give it its final touches, God, out of the special love that he has for this His beloved convent, so disposed that the beautiful statue should not only be finished by angels, but they would perform a marvel of marvels.
“When Francisco went to continue his work, he saw the outer layer of his carving lying on the floor. Filled with a special admiration, he gave his assurance in a sworn, written statement that the statue’s features were not the way he had left them the previous afternoon. He added that he dared not touch the holy statue, not even to kiss it, because he considered himself unworthy of this work of the angels, which was no longer his own.
Our Lady of Good Success: A Powerful Devotion
“Love the statue with enthusiasm because she, desiring to be the perpetual superior of this convent, ordered that she be placed in the aforementioned location with the keys of the cloister in her blessed hands. This should be done in order to keep her dwelling safe from the avarice of men instigated by the devil throughout time and from the satanic envy which will apply all its efforts and diabolical power to destroy the work of God. Achieving no results in open action, evil will attempt to influence many good Christians, priests and even bishops to abandon this place for another. But this is not the will of God Our Lord, Who, according to His high designs, founded this convent here in the heart of the city and wishes it to remain here afloat against the furious, mounting waves of a stormy sea.
“Know, also, daughters and sisters of all times, that the holy statue is consecrated with holy oil and is guarded by the three archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, so that the treacherous serpent will not do it any harm. Seeing himself oppressed by this devotion and losing many souls because of it, he will always attempt to destroy it, but to no avail. God watches over His works. You should also devotedly care for your true treasure and make her known and loved by as many souls as possible, assuring them that with this devotion they will always obtain good success both in time and eternity.
“Have recourse to her in all your spiritual and temporal needs. When your souls suffer temptations and are immersed in grief, and if the star of your vocation is hidden by divine permission from the sight of your soul, turn to her with confidence and say, ‘Star of the stormy sea of my mortal life, may your light shine upon me so that I do not stray from the path that leads me to heaven.’”