Did you know that June 7 marks the anniversary of the dedication of the Oratory of Our Lady of Antipolo? This unique space at the Basilica recognizes the Filipino people’s special devotion to Mary and honors her under her title of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. Today, we invite you to learn more about the origins of the devotion and where you can find it honored in the Basilica.
In 1626, at the zenith of galleon trade between the Philippines and Mexico, the Governor General of the Philippines brought a special statue to Manila. Carved and blessed in Acapulco, Mexico, the statue was placed at the Jesuit Church of San Ignacio. When the governor died, the statue went under the care of the Jesuits, and was later taken to Santa Cruz by a pastor of the Laguna region. Following this move, it disappeared from the church on more than one occasion, reappearing in the branches of a breadfruit tree every time.
Amazed by these events, the people built a church near the site, cut down the tree, and made a pedestal for the Virgin from its trunk. In Tagalog, the word tipolo means “breadfruit tree” and ang means “the” – producing the full title that can be translated as “Our Lady of the Breadfruit Tree.”
Our Lady of Antipolo at the Basilica
The Basilica honors this Marian devotion in the Oratory of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, Antipolo. Stationed at the northeast corner of the Crypt Church, it is a gift of the Filipino Catholic Community. The oratory features an heirloom replica of the statue of Our Lady of Antipolo donated by Socorro and Pacita Mota-Cruz of the Philippines. Fashioned of carved wood, fabric, and metal, it stands on a wooden base with inlaid designs. In 2013, the statue was cleaned, refurbished, and placed in a new protective case.
The oratory also features two murals painted by Jose “Pitok” V. Blanco, who is considered the master of the Philippine genre. The paintings each depict different significant events associated with the devotion. To the left of the statue is the painting The Arrival, which shows the arrival of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Manila. To the right is The Evacuation, portraying the rescue of the statue following the Japanese invasion of World War II.
You can tour the oratory virtually below!
Prayer to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage
The oratory includes the following prayer to Our Lady of Good Voyage:
Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, Virgin of Antipolo, look kindly upon our needs in this pilgrimage to our home in heaven. As you accompanied Christ in His journey from Bethlehem to Calvary, you discovered the loving presence of God in ever new ways. Guide us now in our own turn so that we may discover God in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters. Help us to recognize Him with the eyes of our hearts and to grow deeper in His love through life’s joys and pains. And at our journey’s end, lead us to the doorsteps of heaven and bring us to your Son, Jesus, who has secured and prepared for us a place in our Father’s house. Amen.
Basilica Guide and Tour Book, Dr. Geraldine Rohling