The Apparitions of Our Lady of the Good Event at Quito
1594-1634, Quito, Ecuador
In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, extraordinary events took place in the Royal Monastery of the Immaculate Conception of Quito, which would later become the capital of the future Ecuador. There the Virgin Mary, under the invocation of Good Event (Buen Suceso), appeared to Mother Mariana de Jesús Torres.
In Her messages She made a description of the world that would come with the crisis of faith in the world, but also in the bosom of the Church. But one of the most striking aspects is that of the miraculous image, the carving that the Virgin ordered the nun to order to sculpt an image of Her that was finally carved by the angels themselves. Thus it was documented. The magazine of the "Heralds of the Gospel" recalls this beautiful story:
Our Lady of the Good Event of Quito
An Image Made by Angels
Midnight. In the Royal Monastery of the Immaculate Conception, Quito, the silence was broken by the twelve chimes of the clock that indicated the beginning of the day February 2, 1594. Shortly after, the young prioress, Mother Mariana de Jesús Torres entered the chapel.
With her heart full of bitterness, she had gone to implore the divine Redeemer through the intercession of His blessed Mother to solve the problems that hindered the evangelization of those lands: the bad examples given by some unworthy priests and religious, the unjustifiable excesses of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities, all aggravated by manifestations of disobedience in her own convent. Prostrate with her forehead on the hard stone floor, she was praying fervently when a sweet voice interrupted her prayers calling her by name:
— Mariana, My daughter.
She rose quickly and saw before her a most beautiful Lady, resplendent with light, holding in Her left hand the Child Jesus and in Her right a staff all of polished gold, adorned with precious stones.
— Beautiful Lady, who are You and what do you want? -she asked, overflowing with happiness.
— I am Mary of the Good Event, the Queen of Heaven and Earth. I come to console your afflicted heart. I hold in My right arm the staff that you see, because I want to govern this My monastery as Prioress and Mother.
The colloquy of the humble nun with the heavenly Visitor lasted about two hours. When the latter withdrew, only the dim light of the candle illuminated the chapel, but Mother Mariana felt as strengthened as she was willing to fight and suffer for the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And she was not lacking in sufferings and trials! Five years later, in the early morning of January 16, 1599, the Blessed Virgin appeared to her again to comfort her. She communicated to her the designs of God in relation to that monastery, made prophetic revelations to her about the future of Ecuador and the persecutions that the religious communities would suffer there, and added:
— Therefore it is the will of My Most Holy Son that you yourself command to execute a statue of Me, just as you see Me, and place it on the chair of the prioress so that I may govern My monastery from there, placing in My right hand the staff and the keys of the cloister as a sign of ownership and authority. You will have My divine Child placed in My left hand: first, so that mortals may understand that I am powerful to placate divine justice and to obtain mercy and pardon for every sinful soul who comes to Me with a contrite heart; and second, so that My daughters may understand that I show them and give them My Most Holy Son as a model of their religious perfection; they will come to Me so that I may lead them to Him.
The nun pondered timidly:
— Oh, if it were given to me to leave the ungrateful earth to rise with You to Heaven! But allow me to let You know that no human person, no matter how skilled in the art of sculpture, will be able to work in wood Your charming image, as You ask of me. Send for this to my Seraphic Father so that he may carve this work in chosen wood, having as officers the angels of Heaven, for he would not know how to explain, much less be able to know and give the stature of your carving.
— Let nothing frighten you, My daughter — answered the Virgin—, I will attend to your request. As for My height, measure it yourself with the seraphic cord that you wear around your waist.
The young prioress made a reverent objection:
— Beloved Lady, my dear Mother, do I dare to touch your divine forehead, when the angelic spirits can do so? You are the living ark of the covenant between poor mortals and God; and if Ursa fell dead only because he touched the holy Ark to prevent it from falling to the ground [cf. 2 Sam 6:6-7], how much more me, a poor and weak woman....
— I rejoice in your humble fear, and I see the ardent love for your Heavenly Mother who speaks to you; bring and place in My right hand your cord, and you, with the other extremity, touch My feet.
Trembling with joy, love and reverence, the nun did what Mary Most Holy commanded her, and the latter continued:
— Here you have, My daughter, the measure of your Heavenly Mother; give it to My servant Francisco del Castillo, explaining to him My features and My posture. He will work outwardly My image because he is of delicate conscience and scrupulously observes the Commandments of God and the Church; no other sculptor will be worthy of this grace. You help him with your prayers and with your humble suffering.
In another apparition, at the same hour as the previous ones, that is to say, shortly after the twelve strokes of midnight, the Virgin Mother of God foretold a calamitous time for the Church in Ecuador, times in which almost no innocence would be found in children, nor modesty in women, and added:
— With all this your successors will suffer; they will appease the divine wrath by having recourse to Me under the invocation of the Good Event, whose image I ask and command you to have executed for the consolation and sustenance of My monastery and of the faithful of that time. This devotion will be the lightning rod placed between divine justice and the prevaricating world. This very day, when dawn breaks, you will go and speak to the bishop and tell him that I ask you to have My image sculpted so that it may be placed at the head of My community, in order to take full possession of that which by so many titles belongs to Me. He shall consecrate My image with the sacred oil and shall name it Mary of the Good Event of the Purification or Candelaria (Candlemass).
And She insisted:
— Now it is necessary that you send to execute with haste My holy image, just as you see Me, and hasten to place it in the place I indicated to you.
The humble nun repeated the same timid objection she had made five years before:
— Beloved Lady and dear Mother of my soul, the imperceptible little ant that You have before Your presence, will not be able to refer to the artist any of Your beautiful features, Your beauty, nor Your stature; I have no words to explain it, and there is no one on earth capable of doing the work that You request of me.
Royal Monastery of the Immaculate Conception
— Do not worry about any of this, dear daughter. The perfection of the work is on My account. Gabriel, Michael and Raphael will secretly take charge of the making of My image. You must call Francisco del Castillo, who understands art, to give him a succinct description of My features, exactly as you saw Me, for it was for this purpose that I appeared so many times to you.
And for the second time the Holy Virgin ordered her to measure Her height:
— As for My height, bring here the cord that girdles you and measure Me without fear, for a Mother like Me is pleased with the respectful trust and humility of Her daughters.
— Who will hold it on Your beautiful forehead, adorned with that beautiful crown, with which the Most Holy Trinity crowned you? I do not dare, nor could I reach Your height because of my small stature.
— Dear daughter, put one of the ends of your cord in My hands, and I will place it on My forehead, and you will apply the other to My right foot.
Our Lady took one end of the cord and placed it on Her forehead, leaving the ecstatic nun to do the same on Her right foot. The cord was a little short, but it stretched miraculously, like elastic, until it reached the height of the Heavenly Lady.
"This very day, when dawn breaks, you will go and speak to the bishop," the Blessed Virgin had commanded Mother Mariana. However, foreseeing various obstacles, she was delaying the fulfillment of the order she had received. Twelve days later Our Lady appeared to her again, shining with light as always, but this time silent and looking at her with kindly severity.
After hearing a motherly warning, followed by explanations that dispelled all her fears, the nun replied:
— Beautiful Lady, just is Your reproof. I ask Your pardon and mercy, and I promise to make amends. Today I will speak with the bishop to begin the execution of Your image.
In fact, that same day she explained to Bishop Salvador de Ribera the order received from the Queen of Heaven. He listened attentively to the account of the holy prioress, tested her objectivity, by means of many captious questions, and, finally, gave his approval to the project; he even committed himself to help in everything necessary for its prompt realization.
Then Mother Mariana hastened to hire the sculptor Francisco del Castillo:
— Knowing that you are first of all a good Catholic and then a skilled sculptor, I want to entrust you with a very special work that requires applied care: to sculpt an image of the Virgin Mary, which must have heavenly features, similar to those of Our Blessed Mother who is in Heaven in body and soul; I will give you the measure, for it will have the exact stature of our heavenly Queen.
Francisco del Castillo received this assignment as an outstanding grace from Our Lady and categorically rejected any payment for his services. He spent several days searching in Quito and the surrounding area for the best wood, and immediately set to work. He worked with so much love and felt such consolation that he could not hold back his tears.
Soon there were benefactors for the three important pieces of gold work: the keys, the crown and the crosier. At the request of the nuns, the sculptor performed the entire service not in his workshop, but in the choir loft of the monastery.
The solemn liturgical blessing of the sacred image was scheduled for February 2, 1611. Three weeks before that deadline, only one "small" detail was missing: to give the face a coloring worthy of the face of the Holy Virgin of Virgins. Master Del Castillo decided to make a last research in search of the best inks; he left with that objective in mind, and promised to be back on January 16 to execute the delicate operation, by far the most important of his works.
Great was the expectation of the nuns when, at dawn on the 16th, they went to the chapel to, as usual, praise Our Lady with the singing of the Little Office. As they approached the choir loft, they began to hear melodious harmonies that filled them with emotion. They rushed in and... oh prodigy, a heavenly light flooded the whole room, in which resounded the rapturous voices of angels singing the hymn Salve Sancta Parens (Hail Holy Mother).
Then they realized the striking fact: the image was miraculously finished.
Overflowing with admiration, they contemplated that heavenly face, from which rays of light shone out, illuminating the whole church. Haloed by that vivid light, the physiognomy of the holy image appeared majestic, serene, sweet, kind and attractive, as if inviting Her daughters to approach Her with confidence to give Her a filial embrace of joy and welcome. The countenance of the Child Jesus expressed love and tenderness for those brides of His who were so loved by Him and by His Mother. That day all of them progressed in the spiritual life, and understanding better their own vocation, they began to love more and more their divine Spouse and were committed to the exact fulfillment of the Rule and of the particular obligations.
At the appointed time, Francisco del Castillo arrived, happy to have found excellent inks to finish the sculptural work. Without telling him anything of what had happened, Mother Mariana and some other nuns accompanied him to the choir loft. It is impossible to describe the surprise and emotion of the pious artist.
— Mothers, what do I see? This beautiful image is not my work. I do not know what my heart feels, but this work is angelic. No sculptor, no matter how skilled he may be, will ever be able to imitate such perfection and such extraordinary beauty.
And saying this, he fell to his knees at the feet of the holy image, unburdening his heart, flooded with tears that flowed from his eyes. He rose at once, asked for paper and ink to make a written testimony, swearing that the image was not his own work, but that of the angels, because it was finished in a different way than the one he had left six days before in the upper choir of the monastery. He had never seen, neither in Spain, nor in all his long life of 67 years, a skin color like that.
Not content with that, he left without delay in search of the bishop, Monsignor Salvador de Ribera, to whom he gave a detailed account of what had happened, reaffirming that nothing in that image was the work of his hands: neither the sculpture nor, much less, the painting and the color of the skin.
Thus, it was documented that the image of Our Lady of the Good Event was executed by the angels. The Virgin Mary fulfilled to the letter the promise She made to Mother Mariana: "The perfection of the work is on My account. Gabriel, Michael and Raphael will secretly take charge of the making of My image".
Although the prophecies that Our Lady made to Mother Mariana in the following years are terrible, She never ceases to show Her merciful face. This is how She defined herself to the nun:
"I am powerful to placate the Divine Justice and to obtain mercy and forgiveness for every sinful soul that comes to Me with a contrite heart."
That is why we can always trust in Her: "The devotion of the Good Event will be the Lightning Rod placed between Divine Justice and the prevaricating World, so that the formidable punishment that it deserves will be unloaded on this guilty earth."
And, therefore: "Ecuador will be very happy when I am known and honored under this invocation."
Mariana de Jesus Torres
The prophecies are truly disturbing and, above all, the fulfillment, which Our Lady Herself predicted for the twentieth century.
January 21, 1610
"Passions will rise and there will be a total corruption of morals. Satan will reign in the Masonic sects and will mainly harm Childhood. Woe to the children of that time! They will hardly receive the sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation. The sacrament of Confession will be received only by those who remain in Catholic schools, which the Devil will endeavor to destroy by means of authorized persons."
It also announces "sacrileges and profanations of the Sacred Eucharist" and that "the enemies of Jesus Christ, incited by the devil, will steal in the cities the Consecrated Hosts, with the sole purpose of profaning the Eucharistic species. My Most Holy Son will be thrown to the ground and trampled by unclean feet".
The sacrament of Extreme Unction will be little considered. Many people will die without receiving it.
"(The sacrament of Matrimony) will be attacked and profaned to the full extent of the word. Freemasonry, which will then reign, will impose iniquitous laws with the object of extinguishing that Matrimony."
"The sacrament of Priestly Order will be ridiculed, oppressed and despised. The Devil will persecute the ministers of the Lord in many ways, and will work with cruel and subtle cunning to divert them from the vocation, corrupting many of them".
"There will be an unbridled luxury which, being a snare of sin to others, will conquer countless frivolous souls, who will be lost. Almost no innocence will be found in children, nor modesty in women".
February 2, 1610
Our Lady says on this day that knowledge of the circumstances in which Her image was made is reserved for the twentieth century:
"At that time, the Church will find herself fought by the hordes of the Masonic sect." Ecuador will be "agonized by the corruption of customs, unbridled luxury, the impious press and secular education", and "the vices of impurity, blasphemy and sacrilege will be rife".
The Crucified Child
At the end of 1628, the Archangel St. Michael appeared to Mother Mariana to direct her eyes to the Pichincha Mountain, where, wrapped in light, she saw a cross where the Child Jesus was nailed without nails and crowned with thorns, while He said, addressing the sinful People: "I can do no more for you to show Me your love" (so that you show Me your love).
February 2, 1634
On this day, Our Lady announces that the Immaculate Conception (it will be "when the Church will be most combated and my vicar will be in captivity") and the Assumption will be proclaimed as dogmas of Faith. And Jesus Himself says to the nun: "Cursed a thousand times be the heretics and their followers who question the mysteries concerning Me and My Mother!"
Main and side altar with Our Lady
In March 1634, while Mother Mariana was praying, the light in the Tabernacle went out. Our Lady lit it on again and explained to her various meanings of what had just happened. Among them:
• "Various heresies will spread in these lands and reigning them the precious light of the Faith will be extinguished by the total corruption of customs."
• "In those times, the atmosphere will be saturated by the spirit of impurity which, like an unclean sea, will flow through the streets, squares and public places with an astonishing freedom, so that there will be almost no virgin souls in the world."
• "Having taken possession of all social classes, the Sect (Freemasonry) will have so much subtlety to enter domestic homes that, losing the children, the devil will glory in feeding on the exquisite delicacy of the souls of children."
• "There will be "persons who, possessing great wealth, will see with indifference the Church oppressed, virtue persecuted, wickedness triumphant, without saintly employing their wealth in the destruction of evil and the restoration of the Faith."
• "There will be a formidable and dreadful war, the blood of nationals and foreigners, secular and regular priests will flow. That night will be horrifying, because to human eyes evil will seem to triumph. My hour will then come, in which I, in an astonishing way, will dethrone the proud and accursed Satan, placing him under My feet and burying him in the infernal abyss, leaving the Church and the homeland free from his cruel tyranny."
Death and Cause of Canonization
Mother Mariana de Jesus de Torres became seriously ill at the end of 1634. She spent a few weeks in intense pain during which she always maintained her peace of spirit and interior and exterior joy. On the night of December 8, feast of the Immaculate Conception, she received a last apparition, in which the Virgin, accompanied by the three Archangels who had carved her image, reiterated for whom most of Her messages were intended:
"In the twentieth century, this devotion (to Our Lady of the Good Event) will work wonders in the spiritual, as well as in the temporal sphere. For it is the Will of God to reserve this invocation and the knowledge of your life for that century, when the corruption of morals will be almost general and the precious light of the Faith will have almost been extinguished..."
In the early morning of January 16, 1635, she died.
Bishop Pedro de Oviedo, who governed the Diocese from 1630 to 1646, authorized the devotion to Our Lady of the Good Event. He himself had ordered Mother Mariana to write an autobiography, which is among the documents compiled in 1790 by the Franciscan Father Manuel de Sousa Pereira, whose monumental life of the nun is also the main documentary source that authenticates the messages.
Friar Manuel had access to the archives of the convent and to other biographies written by other Franciscans closer to Mother Mariana's time. On August 8, 1986, eighty years after Mother Mariana's body was found incorrupt, her beatification process was opened.
Mother Mariana's incorrupt body, which is preserved in the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception in Quito
Our Lady of the Good Event (Spanish: Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso) is a Catholic Marian title in Spanish-speaking countries. It is often mistranslated as "Our Lady of Good Success" due to the superficial similarity between the Spanish word "suceso" (meaning "event") and the English false friend "success". Properly speaking, the phrase "Good Event" refers to the Presentation of Jesus and the Purification of Mary.