Source: Religion News Service
SAN NICOLAS DE LOS ARROYOS, Argentina (RNS) Once a month, thousands of devout Catholics descend on this small industrial city, where a woman with little education but great faith said she began seeing visions of the Virgin Mary on Sept. 25, 1983.
After all these years the crowds flocking to a shrine built on the site are as big as ever, and they could well grow still further now that the local bishop has declared that the visions are genuine.
Not that the devout needed much encouragement.
Just a few weeks ago, for example, despite bitter cold and torrential rains — it’s winter in Argentina — pilgrims from around the country filed through the streets to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas.
“We come to give thanks,” said a 50-year-old woman from Buenos Aires who gave her name as Dora. She said she began taking part in the processions, which are held on the 25th of the month, more than 30 years ago, “when there was nothing here.”
Now there’s an enormous domed church that rises above the banks of the mighty Parana River. Even though the facade is still unfinished brickwork, the shrine was inaugurated in 2014 after more than half a million people — or about three times the city’s population — turned out for the 30th anniversary of the first apparition.