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The Miracle of the Little Patroness

Marian T. Horvat

The miracle of the "Little Patroness" is told in detail by Fr. Manuel Sousa Pereira in
The Admirable Life of Mother Mariana, Volume I


In a glass case in the upper choir of the Conceptionist Convent in Quito, Ecuador, there is a four-foot statue of Our Lady and the Christ Child in the baroque style. This statue of Our Lady of Peace, affectionately termed the “Little Patroness” by the Conceptionist sisters, was brought from Spain in 1576 by Mother Maria de Jesus Taboada, the first Abbess of the Convent.

Our Lady of Peace, Quito, Ecuadors


Our Lady of Peace
Below, a close-up of "The Little Patroness"

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This statue was highly prized among the sisters, and "the Little Patroness” worked many miracles in its early days, when it was displayed for public veneration in the Church. Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres had a special devotion to this image.

Then, in the early 1600s, during the times of internal turmoil the Royal Convent was suffering, Our Lady of Peace was brought inside the cloisters at the special request of the Founding Mothers. The statue was set in a finely carved niche in the lower choir near the locked gate separating the sisters from the Church Sanctuary.

This was a favorite place for Mother Mariana and the Spanish sisters to go to pray during those difficult days when a group of the native sisters revolted against the strict observance of the rule and were making intrigues with the diocesan authorities to remove the Convent from the control of the Franciscans.

In the year 1601, after the fourth and last imprisonment of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, (1) a great miracle of the Little Patroness took place inside the Royal Convent of the Immaculate Conception.

The rebellious group of sisters inside the Convent had formed a procession and were trying to leave the cloisters to enter the streets and go to the Bishop’s Palace. There they intended to present their false accusations against Mother Mariana to the Bishop to try to have her imprisoned again.

But Our Lady did not permit their shameful plan to succeed. As the group passed her niche in the hallway, before the eyes of all the statue turned her face away. Then she spoke these words, "Unhappy women, what are you doing? Go, then, if you so desire, but you will have no place to return, for I will return to Spain with the Founding Mothers and observant sisters. Too late you will weep for your follies.

"And so that this house might forever remember this day, I will always remain like this, with my head turned away from you, as a warning and lesson to those who follow you." (Vol. 1, p. 175)

With this impressive display of her anger and displeasure, most of the rebellious sisters repented, and peace returned to the Royal Monastery.

As you can see in the picture, the expression of Our Lady is stern and reproving. Her head is still turned to this day as a reminder of the warning and punishment the Queen of Heaven exacts on religious who deviate from the spirit of religion and observance of their Rules.

Posted March 20, 2004

(1) I describe the four imprisonments of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, some of the visions she received in prison, and the miracle of the Little Patroness in greater detail on my talk The Suffering of Mother Mariana.
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