Miracles & Marvels

As early as 1601, just a year after her arrival in Valladolid, miracles began to be linked to Our Lady Vulnerata.

1. There were stories of prayers being answered for the healing of serious disabilities and of fevers being cured. The college chapel began being filled with candles and gifts given to the "English Virgin" by grateful Vallisoletans.

The first miracle attributed to the Vulnerata’s intercession was recorded by college rector Father John Blackfan SJ in the early 16th century.

2. "A priest who lived in a village not far from the city had been struggling to pass urine," Father Blackfan wrote. "All that had been spent on doctors proved in vain, so he prayed to the English Virgin and asked to be brought before her."

3. "While he was travelling to the college, prostrate on his mule, he suddenly felt better and, overflowing with happiness, he immediately came to our house already cured and that very day gave a Mass of thanksgiving at the altar of the Virgin Vulnerata. I was a witness. I heard the confession of this priest when he arrived and can thus confirm that this story is true."

4. The Queen of Spain, Margaret of Austria, also helped Our Lady Vulnerata’s reputation to spread throughout Spain. The queen often asked Our Lady of San Lorenzo, the patroness of Valladolid, to intercede for her during childbirth. When, in 1601, she was about to give birth to the Infanta Ana of Austria - a future Queen of France - she also sought help from the Vulnerata. The cloak worn by the statue was placed on the Queen’s belly and she successfully delivered the baby, starting a custom among the noblewomen of the court.

Miracles & Marvels

5. In his book Virgen de Los Ingleses, entre Cádiz y Valladolid, Dr Javier Burrieza Sánchez records how Father Gregorio de Mendiola, SJ, rector from 1664 to 1668, began to catalogue the marvels associated with the Vulnerata.

6. "I confess I enter into the subject of miracles with great caution, as it is usual that not all that are said to be [miracles] are really such," he remarked.

7. However, Father Mendiola went on to document perhaps the most extraordinary "wonder" of all. It involved an infant who died and then, allegedly thanks to the intercession of the Vulnerata, came back to life. This was so unusual that Father Mendiola asked for detailed statements from those who witnessed it...

In the year 1618 and the month of September, there was a child, one and a half years old, ill with dysentery… His sickness was so dire that they came to dry him, so that it seemed all that was left of him were his bones, although the doctors tried many remedies. I give witness that on the eve of the feast of Holy Saint Francis, three days short of October, at three in the afternoon, the said child died naturally and remained dead until 11 at night, when the time came to place him in a shroud. Doña Leonor de Oyos, his mother, in my presence and that of many neighbours, brought out a large image she had in the house of the most Holy Queen of the Angels, saying, ‘Mother of God, Most Holy Virgin, Our Lady of the English, she who is called the damaged one, resurrect my son. As you see I have no other and do not do this because I deserve it, but rather because you are the mother of God and my Lord Jesus Christ and I am devoted to you’. She said all this crying - and holding the image [of Our Lady] next to the face of the dead child. As she finished speaking, the child stirred and opened its eyes and said ‘Mother, give me your breast’. To the astonishment of all present, he had been cured, and later his mother brought him with her to the chapel of the college to give thanks.
– The Apostolic Notary of Valladolid, Juan de Quevedo

8. The same child was later cured, thanks again to Our Lady Vulnerata, of measles and smallpox.

9. Almost equally dramatic was the cure of Jacinto Sánchez de la Puebla, a secretary of the Royal Chancellery. Paralysed in his hands and legs, he was bed-bound for nine months and offered a novena to the Vulnerata. His health gradually improved until he was well enough to be carried to the college chapel in the arms of two men who left him sitting there, unable to move.

10. On the sixth day he asked for a walking stick, and, without any other help, walked through the chapel. He then returned home, leaving the crutches brought to support him behind in the chapel. That was not his only miracle – Don Jacinto lost his sight after an accident in 1642 and his wife, Antonia de Torres y Zárate, started a novena to Our Lady Vulnerata. She completed it in the college and returned home to find her husband cured. Don Jacinto left his own testimony, which was included in Father Mendiola’s book.

11. There was an unexpected sequel to Don Jacinto’s healing. In 1653, An 18-year-old boy who worked as a servant for his relatives developed a tumour in his legs that left him paralysed. He asked his mistress to visit the college and kneel in front of the Vulnerata and request a Mass for his health. She was also to bring back the crutches that were hanging up in the college having been left by someone who had previously been cured. The young man took the crutches and promised to come to the seminary if he recovered his health. According to the rector, this happened four days later.

12. Many further reports of miracles associated with Our Lady Vulnerata followed over the years. As recently as the 1950s, a student of the college, Father Brian Jones, claimed to have been cured of a deadly illness after his fellow students ignored the rector’s orders for them to leave the college buildings so he might die in peace and instead prayed for his recovery in front of the Vulnerata. Several hours later Father Jones awoke cured to the astonishment of his doctors.

Visiting The College

Although our primary focus is always priestly formation of the seminarians, when we are able to do so we warmly welcome groups and individual visitors who would like to learn more about St Alban’s crucial role in the life of the Catholic Church.

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