La Virgen de Chiquinquirá
Photo of the actual Painting of the Virgen de Chiquinquirá
As in many places, religious traditions can have a big impact on the names people choose for their children. Muslims may choose to name their child Mohammed. Jews may choose names like Moses or Abraham. Lutherans could choose Martin. Mormons might pick Nephi or Brigham. Baptists might pick John. You get the idea. But, this is common also in Catholic culture. Take for instance the name Guadalupe, which comes from the Virgin of Guadalupe that appeared to the boy Juan Diego in Mexico. The name Guadalupe is extremely popular in Mexico and it works for both men and women.
In Colombia, a predominantly Catholic country, many people choose to name their children names associated with the Catholic church. One name that is sometimes chosen comes from the Patron of Colombia – the Virgen de Chiquinquirá.
According to Catholic tradition, Fray Andrés Jadraque ordered that a painting be made of the Virgen del Rosario accompanied by San Antonio de Padua and San Andrés. In 1563, the painting, by Alonso Narváez, was placed in a small chapel. However, by 1577, the humidity and leaking roof had almost destroyed the painting and in 1585 it was taken to the city of Chiquinquirá. There it was stored in a room rarely used, and some say the canvas had corn placed on it to dry.
In 1586, María Rámos, realizing that on the canvas you could still see a faint image of the Virgin, decided to repair the frame and place it in the most important place in the city chapel. Thereafter, everyday, María would pray to the Virgin and ask her to somehow make herself manifest. On December 26, 1586, as María was turning to leave the painting, an indigenous woman – named Isabel – and her young son passed by and began shouting, “Look! Look! Look!” When María turned to look the painting was glowing and the heretofore faded image was restored to its original splendor.
From that moment, faithful Catholics in the area began to devote themselves to the Virgen of Chiquinquirá. Many miracles have since been attributed to her, and many Colombians make pilgrimages to her sanctuary in Chiquinquirá, Boyacá. In 1916, the government of the Republic of Colombia named her the Patron of Colombia.
Other Popular Catholic Names (I am not including the host of Biblical names):