The pilgrims of Our Lady of Buen Suceso of the Purification over the years have been blessed to hear the history of President Gabriel Garcia Moreno from a Floridian pilgrim, whose devotion to the martyred president makes him a very knowledgeable tour guide while leading his fellow pilgrims in the holy president’s footsteps through the streets of Quito, Ecuador. Our Lady of Buen Suceso prophesied the Catholic restoration of Quito by this holy president.
Our guide made an interesting correlation between the life of Garcia Moreno and one of the famous miracles of Quito: Our Lady of Sorrows in the San Gabriel Academy.
After the President had been mutilated by his assassins, on August 6, 1875, he lived long enough for General Salazar to have him carried into the Cathedral of Quito to be laid before the altar of Our Lady of Sorrows, to whom Garcia Moreno had great devotion. As he was laid in his final agony, his confessor withheld absolution until Garcia gave some sign that he forgave his enemies. A motion of Garcia Moreno’s hand in the priest’s clasp was not a sufficient sign of conviction for the priest, so the agonizing penitent opened and closed his eyes to affirm that he forgave his enemies.
Nearly thirty-one years after this heroic death, a miracle occurred in the San Gabriel Academy not far from the cathedral. San Gabriel is a Jesuit school renamed in honor of Gabriel Garcia Moreno in commemoration of his reinstatement of the Jesuits there in 1862 (after their exile and suppression in 1767).
The miracle occurred on April 20, 1906, when the image of Our Lady of Sorrows that was hanging in the San Gabriel Academy refectory opened and closed her sorrowful eyes before devout first communicants. The miracle was repeated before the rest of the students and the priests, and the prodigy continued to occur in successive weeks before the townspeople, prelates, and the archbishop. During the apparitions, Our Lady of Sorrows took the appearance of a living person, and her eyes expressed deep sorrow and the agony of death.
Her image was taken in great procession to the square before the cathedral of Quito. Moved by grace, the people rose up and expelled the Freemasonic government that had been in control since Garcia Moreno’s death. They reinstated a Catholic government just as Gabriel Garcia Moreno had done during his presidency.
The existence of the San Gabriel Academy was not threatened anymore - on the contrary, from that time forward it greatly prospered, showing Our Lady’s love for Catholic education. Did she not show also her predilection for the President who had preserved the college by restoring it to the Jesuits as well as for many other moves in favor of Catholic education that he zealously promotes?
The likeness of President Garcia Moreno showing forgiveness for his enemies by moving his agonizing eyes, and the Sorrowful Mother converting the government and the people of Quito by the same sign, is an astonishing parallel!
We express our gratitude to our guide for his zealous presentation of the life of Garcia Moreno, a very moving story one can take advantage of during the pilgrimages to Our Lady of Buen Suceso of the Purification.
About the miracle of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Once the inquiry and the prescribed formalities about this extraordinary event were concluded, the Vicar General issued the following declaration in Quito on June 3, 1906:
1. The event which occurred on April 20th in the Jesuit Fathers' Academy is established as historically certain.
2. The event, considering the circumstances in which it occurred, cannot be explained by natural laws.
3. The event, because of what preceded it as well as what followed it, cannot be attributed to any diabolical influence.
Consequently, the decree added that it is permitted to believe in the miracle of the image. The faithful may render to the image that occasioned this event the public devotions permitted by the Church, and pray before the image with legitimate confidence.
To read more about Garcia Moreno’s life: