Santuario de las Lajas


– Santuario de las Lajas –

This beautiful sanctuary was believed to have been finished by August 20th, 1949 but the history of the location goes back much further. In 1754 there was a cave that everyone was afraid to go into because of rumors of an apparition being seen of a woman and her child near the entrance.

Every day Maria Mueses de Quinones, an Indian woman from the village of Potosi, Colombia use to walk six miles with her deaf-mute daughter, Rosa, to what was then known as Las Lajas (the rocks). She claimed that one day on her journey it began to storm so she had to find shelter in the cave. Rosa went further into the cave alone and then came out and spoke for her first time, “Mama, there is a woman and a child in the cave.”

Afraid, Maria grabbed Rosa and ran back to her village. People started talking about this miraculous rumor because Rosa was deaf and mute all of her life and could now speak perfectly. Rosa kept telling Maria that the women in the cave was calling to her, then one day Rosa went missing. Maria walked to the cave to find her there playing with the boy and the woman. After allowing her to play for a short time they went home.

Rumor has it that Rosa had fallen ill and died one night so Maria desperately carried her to the cave to ask for help. The woman and the boy stood over Rosa and soon Rosa awakened. Maria, crying with tears of joy, lifted her daughter up and held her, but when she turned to thank the woman and the boy they were gone. What she noticed next was astounding. There was a mural on the cave wall that had never been there before. The picture is believed to be the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, and to one side of her is St. Francis; and on the other is St. Dominic.

1abWhen Maria brought her daughter back to the village everyone gathered around her. The last time they had seen her she was carrying her dead daughter away. Then when Maria had returned with Rosa. they were laughing and playing and telling the story of the resurrection. When the people heard about the mural they all wanted to see it for themselves. Soon there was a shrine built and people from all around began to gather there to pray.

January 1st of 1916 churches from all over the world donated funds to help build the new sanctuary that stands a little over 300 ft tall from the bottom of the canyon up. You can walk through the sanctuary and into the cave where the mural of “Our Lady of Las Lajas” is on the wall. It’s in the same condition as it was when Maria Mueses and Rosa had found it in 1754.


Until next time…



~ William C. Raustler