Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nuestra Señora de Caysasay: A disappearing lady, miraculous wells and a virgin named after kingfishers

Our Lady of Caysasay Dramatic Dome PatternsThere was water seeping through the cracks of the front entrance when we arrived at the Church of Our Lady of Caysasay. We thought it was a cracked pipe that needs mending. But the friendly little girls we bought familia candles from told us that it was from a natural spring. Could it be connected to the miraculous wells located some distance from the church? Could be. For a church with a history steeped in miracles, anything is possible.Our Lady of Caysasay FrontThe Lady Vanishes. The Church of our Lady of Caysasay is a lot smaller than the Basilica de San Martin de Tours. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for with a most interesting back story.

It was in 1603 when a fisherman named Juan Maningkad had a most unusual catch in the waters of Pansipit River (which connects to Bombon Lake now called Taal) – a 12-inch tall image of Our Lady of Caysasay. The image was taken under the care of the wife of the town’s judge in a special urn but time and again, the image would disappear one day and be back the next. The town priest instructed the people to hold a vigil and follow the image when it leaves. This led them to Caysasay. But the story didn’t end there. The image kept disappearing and appearing until one day, it completely vanished.Our Lady of Caysasay Beautiful AltarWhat's Caysasay? Years later, two women gathering firewood near the place where the image was originally found, saw the image on top of a tall bush among kingfishers called casay-casay (pronounced by the Spanish as Caysasay). The priest and the townsfolk took it as a sign that this is the place where the image would want to stay so a chapel was built on the spot.
Our Lady of Caysasay Arch over Banal na Pook

First apparition in history. On the same year, 1611, the Lady of Caysasay appeared to an almost blind servant girl – the first Marian apparition in the Philippines ever recorded. It was said that the apparition made the nearby stream miraculous. An arch was built on the spot of the apparition (called Banal na Pook or Holy Place) and to this day, the water is known to have healing properties.

Deliverance came upon the town later, prosperity resulting from provisioning galleons coming from Acapulco. This prosperity is evident in the ancestral houses still standing around town. Was this part of the miracle of Our Lady? I leave it to you, dear reader, to decide.

Info culled from and wikipedia. • The Church of Our Lady of Caysasay is around 5-10 minutes walking distance from the Basilica de San Martin de Tours, passing through a staircase of 125 or so steps which you can call penitence or offering depending on your point of view and faith.


Related Posts with Thumbnails