From October 10-12, 2017, Brazilian Catholics celebrated the 300th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Aparecida, patroness of Brazil, at the national shrine of Aparecida, in the State of São Paulo.
In 1717, after having prayed to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, some fishermen threw their nets into the water and brought up first the torso and then the head of a statue of the Virgin Mary. They threw the nets again and this time they found them full of fish.
The devotion to the Virgin increased among the people and many graces were obtained by praying before the Virgin. In 1929, Our Lady of Aparecida was proclaimed “Queen of Brazil” and the official patron saint of the country by Pope Pius XI. Her feast is celebrated on October 12th.
In 1984, the Bishops’ Conference of Brazil declared her basilica a “national shrine.” It is estimated to be visited by more than 7 million visitors each year.
The basilica of Aparecida is the largest Marian shrine in the world.