OUR LADY OF ACATZINGO, Acatzingo, Puebla
On that day in 1609 Senora Antonia Negreros was mightily puzzled. She was the owner of the inn on the main street of Acatzingo, a town not far from Puebla, the capital of the state of the same name. Senora Negreros was not a timid innkeeper! She was an energetic, imperious business-woman (what one would call a “dominant” personality) with a “beautiful fighting spirit” and a voice that could be heard from one end of the inn to the other. Normally she would be full of questions for her guests! She could be more than a little suspicious. But this time—with this guest—she had none. He had a “trustworthy” look and that was enough for her. Even though he was a complete stranger and she had never met him before. It was his huge package that puzzled her! “What could it contain?” she wondered.
Strangely enough, when he left the inn, he asked Senora Antonia to keep the parcel for him. He would pick it up on his return trip. The problem was, he never did return! And Senora Antonia’s curiosity grew day by day. Finally, she could no longer resist! She unwrapped the bundle and to her astonishment discovered a beautiful treasure: a large painting of Our Lady of Sorrows , 1 m (36”) wide x 2 m (72”) long. Being a very devout woman she fell in love with the painting and hung it in a prominent place at the inn.
The next day she noticed something striking: the painting of Our Lady was sweating! Crowds began to pour into her inn as though it were a temple. All came to witness the miracle. Prayers were being answered. Over time the townspeople began relating miracles that Our Lady of Sorrows had worked in their lives.
Soon the village pastor insisted that the holy image be taken to the church for safekeeping. But Senora Antonia missed her beloved painting. And on January 23rd in the dead of night she crept into the church (it was pitch black!) and stole back her precious image. And ran away as fast as she could! Unfortunately, the sacristan noticed that the painting was missing and began chasing the unhappy “thief” down the street yelling “Stop! Stop!” as loud as he could. In her panic, Senora Antonia tossed the painting in the village well at the centre of town. The next morning the sacristan retrieved it and to his astonishment it was bone dry! Even though it had been in the water the entire night long. This was the second miracle to be attributed to the divine image.
Once the painting was reposed in the church, Our Lady of Sorrows began dispensing favours in a most generous manner! She inspired great devotion among the inhabitants of the region. In the 18th century a confraternity was established in her honour and a most SUMPTUOUS sanctuary was built from the alms collected for this purpose. Thousands of pilgrims from Puebla, Veracruz, Oaxaca and Guerrero descend on the church on her two feastdays, Sept. 6 (to commemorate the first day the “perspiration” appeared on the painting) and Good Friday. On Sept. 15, 1924, she was granted a singular honour: she was pontifically crowned with the official approval of Pope Pius Xl. The painting resides over the main altar. The façade, adorned with the signature Talavera tile of Puebla, is one of the most beautiful churches in Mexico. And to this day Our Lady of Acatzingo is attentive to all of her devotees!