Not on a tree trunk...
Not on an underpass wall, nor in an office-tower window-wall panel - but in rock. The miraculous image, not painted by human hands is actually embedded in the rock walls of a cave once thought to be haunted. It is this cave painting I had in mind in reference to the Virgin of Guadalupe pareidolia, which people in New Jersey believed appeared in a tree trunk a couple of weeks ago. I offered that in Spanish colonial times, an original pareidolia could have been later enhanced by artists to bring out features and details otherwise undefined in the primitive imprint. In the case of Las Lajas, it appears my theory was wrong. The image has been studied and there is no natural explanation for its precision and detail.
But tests done when the church was built show how stupendous this image actually is. Geologists from Germany bored core samples from several spots in the image. There is no paint, no dye, nor any other pigment on the surface of the rock. The colors are the colors of the rock itself. Even more incredible, the rock is perfectly colored to a depth of several feet. - Nuestra Señora de las Lajas
On the borders between Colombia and Ecuador is a beautiful sanctuary, a wonder to its visitors. There is a venerated image of Our Lady of Las Lajas, and thousands and thousands of pilgrims from both countries visit each year and obtain many favors from God.
In the eighteenth century, María Mueses de Quiñones, a local woman from the village of Potosi, Colombia, often walked the six miles between her village and the neighbouring one of Ipiales. One day in 1754 as she was making the journey, she approached the place called Las Lajas (the Rocks), where the trail passes through a deep gorge of the Guaitara River. Maria never liked this part of the trail because there were rumors that a cave in Las Lajas was haunted. Such superstitions remained among the converted Christian Indians.
Maria was carrying her daughter Rosa, a deaf-mute, on her back. And by the time she had climbed to Las Lajas she was weary and sat on a rock to rest. The child got down from her back to play. The next thing Maria knew Rosa was at the cave shouting: “Mommy, there is a woman in here with a boy in her arms!” Maria became very frightened. This was the first time she had ever heard her daughter speak! She didn't see the figures the girl was talking about, nor did she want to. She grabbed the child and ran on to Ipiales.
Fearful of ridicule, Maria kept quiet about the event. But frequently she and Rosa went to the cave to place wild flowers and candles in the cracks of the rocks. The months went by with María and Rosa keeping their secret. However, one day the girl fell gravely ill and died. A distraught Maria decided to take her daughter’s body to Las Lajas to ask Our Lady to restore Rosa to life.
Pressed by the sadness of Maria’s unrelenting supplications, the Blessed Virgin obtained Rosa’s resurrection from Her Divine Son. Overflowing with joy, Maria went home. It didn’t take long for a crowd to gather. Early next morning everyone went to Las Lajas, each wanting to check the details for themselves.
That was when the marvellous picture of Our Lady on the wall of the grotto was discovered. Maria Muese de Quinones could not recall noticing it until then. The child Jesus is in Our Lady’s arms. On one side of Our Lady is Saint Francis; on the other is Saint Dominic. Her delicate and regal features are those of a Latin American, perhaps an Indian. Her abundant black hair covers her like a mantle (The two-dimensional crown is metal and was added by devotees much later on). Her eyes sparkle with a pure and friendly glow. She looks about fourteen years old. The indians had no doubt: this was their Queen.
So the mystery remains unsolved. Did angels do it? Or did God Himself do it at the dawn of creation, when he contemplated the most excellent of all His creatures? The One whom He would make Queen of Heaven and Earth and to whose maternal care the future nation of Colombia would be entrusted. - Nuestra Señora de las Lajas