Our Lady of the Pilar: The First Apparition of Our Lady Ever : To St. James the Apostle

Our Lady of the Pilar Basilica Church in Zaragoza, Spain, goes back to the earliest years of Christianity (Lori Erickson photos)

This is a narrative about Our Lady’s first apparition in history. It is accredited due to the fact that a Basilica has been built and there have been numerous astounding cures. During the Civil War in Spain, in the 1930’s, two aerial bombs were dropped on the shrine church, but neither exploded. Those bombs now hang on the shrine wall. Our Lady was still alive, living in Palestine, when she appeared to St. James, who was discouraged about a lack of converts in Spain. Jesus had been dead only seven years!

By Brother John M. Samaha, S.M. https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/o/our-lady-of-the-pillar.php

“On January 2, 40 A.D.., the Apostle St. James, the Elder, brother of St. John, sat tired and disappointed by the bank of the Elbo River in what is now Zaragosa, Spain. The people of the Roman province of Hispania (Spain/Iberian Peninsula) were not open and receptive to the Good news of Jesus and St. James was ready to give up his efforts to evangelize them. On that January day the Blessed Virgin appeared to James atop a column or pillar of stone. With encouraging words , she assured him that the people of Hispania would become Christians and that their faith would be as strong and durable as the pillar on which she stood. To remember the visit and promise of the Virgin Mary, the first Marian shrine was built around the pillar.

The pillar was made of jasper to mark the spot where she had made her appearance.

And James began to convert the pagans of early Spain.

Neither natural nor religious reasoning have been able to discredit the story of Mary of the Pillar. Blessed Anna Catherine Emmerich, German Augustinian stigmatist and visionary of the early 19th century, describes the event in rich detail in chapter 14 of ‘The Life of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

A Most Incredible Miracle From Lori Erickson Spiritual Travels https://www.spiritualtravels.info/spiritual-sites-around-the-world/

“A poor beggar named Miguel Juan Pellicer from the town of Calanda, was unable to work because of an amputated leg. He had a great devotion to the shrine and frequently went there for help. The Virgin Mary answered his prayers by restoring his missing leg. After the word spread about this miracle, the number of pilgrims to the Church greatly increased.

Multiple church structures have occupied the site, each one larger than the one it replaced. Today, the Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar, as it is formally known, includes 11 brightly tiled domes and is the second biggest church in Spain. Only the Cathedral in Seville is larger. Construction was begun in 1681 under the direction of King Charles ll.

View From the Ebro River where St. James sat worrying
Parts of its interior date back even before 1681. The magnificent main altar of alabaster was designed by Damian Forment in the fifteenth century. Two of the frescos that line its domes were painted by Goya, the famous eighteenth century Spanish artist who was born in the nearby village of Fuendetodos.