Early on the morning of October 12, 1717, three Brazilian fishermen set out on the waters of the Paraiba River, which ran through their village. They were charged with providing the fish for the banquet that would be held a few days later in the village of Guarantinguetá on the occasion of the visit of the Count of Assumar, Don Pedro de Almeida, Governor of the Province of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, as he travelled to the town of Vila Rica. The three fishermen – Domingos Garcia, Filipe Pedroso, and João Alves – had had no luck that morning; they had been fishing for hours without catching anything. They had almost given up, when João Alves decided to give it one more try. He cast his net into the river and slowly began to draw it in. There was something there, but it wasn’t a fish… it seemed to be a piece of wood. When they pulled it out of the net, they saw that it was a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the head missing.
João cast his net into the waters once more, and pulling it in, he found another piece of wood which proved to be the statue’s head. As if in response to strange instinct, he cast his net a third time into the river. When he tried to pull it in, he found it was full of fish. Now his companions cast their nets as well, and likewise found themselves overwhelmed with an abundance of fish.
Over the course of the next few days, the three fishermen cleaned and re-assembled the statue, and Filipe Pedroso placed it in his humble abode. Soon after, news of the miraculous catch spread to the neighbouring villages, and day-by-day more of their countrymen came to honour the Blessed Virgin and pray the Rosary. They gave her the name “Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida,” that is, Our Lady of the Appeared Conception.
Our Lady of the Aparecida Conception, pray for us