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Our Lady of Manaoag (standard:Inspirational stories, 625 words)
Author: jopoguerreroAdded: Nov 27 2009Views/Reads: 7359/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Faith
 



I am not really a religion buff, but the loads of testimonies I have
read about Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag awakened my 
curiosity bone. 

Thus, one early morning, I decided to pay a visit to the Lady of
Manaoag. I can't deny that my trip to the shrine of the miraculous 
image was merely due to my raring nosiness – natural for a reporter 
like me. 

But things in me changed after that visit. 

It was an ordinary weekday, no special religious event, no special
celebration. I arrived there 4AM, an hour early for the first mass. I 
thought the church would still be empty and sleepy at that time – but 
to my surprise, it was already buzzing with people. 

I sat at the back pew to observe. 

I was astounded – actually, almost frightened – of what I saw. Old
people, obviously with arthritic joints, laboriously knelt while 
talking to the Lady of Manaoag – oblivious of other people who might 
overhear their prayers. Younger ones also knelt – their heads bowed and 
oftentimes shook with sighs and sobs. Others simply gazed at the image, 
calm yet prayerful. 

I have seen similar scenes in other churches, but it was my first time
to witness such intensity of conversation with a miraculous image. The 
ambiance appeared so hallowed that I felt ashamed to be there just to 
quench my curiosity – especially when I sensed that the Lady seemed to 
be fixedly watching my demeanor. 

The ivory image of the Lady of Manaoag was brought to the Philippines by
Padre Juan de San Jacinto from Spain via Acapulco in early 1600s. 

Some historical documents narrate the story of a man who heard a
mysterious voice calling on a hilltop. When he looked around, he saw 
the radiant Lady with a Rosary on her right hand and a Child on the 
left – she was standing on a seemingly bright cloud. The man 
immediately fell on his knees. 

After telling the people of the apparition, a town quickly flourished in
the place and was called “Manaoag.” According to tradition, the town 
itself was born from the Virgin's call, thus the term "taoag" meaning 
"to call" was used to name the town – and right on the  spot where the 
Lady appeared a church was built. 

Since then, the shrine became one of the most important centers of
devotion in the country. Non-believers tried to destroy it, but to no 
avail – even the multitude of lighted arrows of early pagans and the 
bombs of foreign invaders turned dud on the image. 

Many locals and foreigners professed a host of miracles from the Lady: a
dead child was brought back to life, the sick amazingly recovered; the 
poor were saved from calamities; and the helpless were protected from 
ruthless. 

Consequently, the Lady of Manaoag is now recognized as the patroness of
the sick, the needy and the helpless. 

At exactly 5AM, a Dominican priest said the Holy Mass which was attended
by the ailing, the destitute and the powerless – like me. 

After the mass, I followed the queue to the candle gallery, then to the
upper room where you can actually touch the garment of the Lady of 
Manaoag. 

After a quick and gentle touch on the miraculous image, sad faces
transformed into victorious auras, as if they have already received the 
answers to the petitions they whispered to the Lady. Smiles headlined 
their countenances, accentuated by grateful glows in their eyes. 

Such sudden positive dispositions, I believe, were miracles themselves. 

On my part, I also experienced a great miracle during that visit to
Manaoag – I was infused with the eagerness to visit the shrine again, 
not to quench my curiosity, but to give thanks to the Lady and Her 
Child. 


   


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