Our Lady of the Pillar
All the solicitude of our great Mother and Lady was centered upon the increase and spread of the Holy Catholic Church, the consolation of the Apostles, disciples and the other faithful, and in defending them from the persecution and assaults prepared by the infernal dragon and his hosts. Before Our Blessed Lady departed from Jerusalem to take up her abode in Ephesus, She ordered and arranged many things, both by herself and her holy Angels, to provide for the needs of the Church in Her absence. The most effectual service She could render was Her continual prayer. She offered special prayers for St. James, head of the Church in Jerusalem, as she knew this Apostle would be the first to shed his blood for Christ.
On the fourth day before leaving for Ephesus, Our Blessed Lady asked Our Lord: “Lord, what dost Thou command me to do? What dost Thou desire of me?” Repeating these words, She saw her Divine Son descending in Person, with all His court to visit Her. The humble and devout Virgin worshiped Him in deepest reverence from the inmost of Her purest soul. Our Lord replied to Her petition: “My most beloved Mother… I am attentive to Thy petitions and holy desires and they are pleasing to Me. I shall defend My Apostles and My Church, and I shall be their Father and Protector, so that It shall not be overcome, nor the gates of Hell prevail against It.” (Matt. 16:18) It is necessary for My glory that the Apostles labor and follow Me to the Cross and to the death I have suffered for the whole human race. The first one to imitate Me is My faithful servant, James, and I desire that he suffer martyrdom in this city of Jerusalem.” “I desire that thou go to Saragossa where he is now and command him to return to Jerusalem. But before he leaves that city, he is to build a church in Thy name.” After expressing her sincerest gratitude to her Divine Son, She asked that She be permitted to promise the special protection of Her Divine Son and that this sacred place shall be part of Her inheritance for the use of all who call with devotion upon Her Son’s Holy Name, asking Her to intercede for them. Our Divine Lord promised His holy Mother that all She asked would be fulfilled according to Her will and power at this sacred Shrine.
At the command of Our Lord, a great number of Angels placed Her on a throne formed by a resplendent cloud, and proclaimed Her Queen and Mistress of all creation. The purest Mother, borne by Seraphim and Angels, departed body and soul for Saragossa in Spain. St. James was lost in exalted prayer when the Angels placed the throne of their Queen and Lady within sight of the Apostle and his disciples. The Angels bore with them a small column hewn of marble or jasper, and a not-very-large image of their Queen. Seated on Her throne on the cloud, She manifested herself to St. James. The Apostle prostrated himself and in deepest reverence venerated the Mother of his Creator and Redeemer. At the same time he was shown the image and the pillar in the hands of some of the angels. The loving Queen gave him Her blessing and said, “My son James, this place, the Most High and Omnipotent God of Heaven has destined to be consecrated by thee upon earth for the erection of a church and house of prayer, where, under my patronage and name, He wishes to be glorified and magnified, where the treasures of His right hand shall be opened up for all the faithful through my intercession, if they ask for them in true faith and sincere piety.” “A pledge of this truth and of My promise shall be this column with my image placed upon it. In the church which thou shall build for Me, it shall remain and be preserved until the end of the world. Thou shalt immediately begin to build this church, and after thou hast completed it, thou shalt depart for Jerusalem.”
At the Queen’s command, the holy Angels set up the column. and upon it the sacred image, in the same place where they now stand. St. James, together with the holy Angels celebrated the first dedication of a Church instituted in this world under the name and title of the great Mistress of Heaven and earth.
Our Apostle gave most humble thanks to Blessed Mary and asked for special protection of this Spanish kingdom, and particularly of this place consecrated to Her devotion and name. The heavenly Mother granted him all his requests, gave him Her blessing, and was carried back to Jerusalem.
Since that time, Spain became a fervent Spanish (Visigoth) Kingdom and thousands of miracles have occurred at this ancient Shrine of the Most Holy Virgin, Mother of the Apostles and Mother of the Church.