The story of Our Lady of Peñafrancia began in Paris on September 4th, 1401 when Simon Vela was born. While born into a rich family he eventually gave all his riches to the church, charities, and the poor. Simon preferred to spend time in the church and one day lost consciousness while devoutly praying. He was awoken by a voice, telling him to travel to Peña de Francia (Rock of France), where he would find the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For five disheartening years Simon traveled west, but finally came across a hill in which he saw the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus in her arms. There, with the help of five men from a nearby town, he began to dig where she had directed, and on May 19th, 1434, they uncovered an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus.
The Filipino tradition of honoring Our Lady of Peñafrancia began in the Bicol region in 1712, when Miguel Robles de Covarrubias, the son of a Spanish government official, fell very ill. While ill, he and his family prayed to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, and he vowed that if he recovered he would construct a shrine in her name. When he recovered he was ordained a priest in Naga City and set forth his plans to construct the shrine. During the construction, he also ordered for an image to be made, similar to the one he prayed to while sick. As this happened, news of the occurrence of many more miracles spread and so did the devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia.
Considered the biggest and most popular religious event in the Philippines, the Peñafrancia fiesta is, in fact, a one-week affair that starts on the second Friday of September, where a nine-day novena and prayers are held in the honor of Blessed Mother. Today, millions of people gather every year in the Bicol region, and this tradition has been carried on by Filipinos all over the world in places like Rome, Sydney, Los Angeles, Toronto, and nowhere in Boston.
On behalf of the Devotees of the Blessed Mother from Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Boston, we invite you to join our celebration on Saturday, September 1, 2018, at 9:00 AM at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine on 155 Washington Street in Brighton, MA.