After 72 years in hibernation, the Catholic Church in the Philippines has revived the devotion to the Nuestra Seπora del la Salud (Our Lady of Health) Novena late last year.
Over a thousand devotees to the Blessed Virgin Mary attended a concelebrated Mass at the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish in Project 6, Quezon City on Nov. 17, 2017.
It was the first time in 72 years that the miraculous holy image of Nuestra Seπora del la Salud was shown to the public for veneration, especially to those who are sick and wanted to be healed.
From now on, the miraculous image of Nuestra Seπora del la Salud has its permanent home at the San Nicolas Parish Church in Barangay Toro, Project 6 just behind SM Cherry Supermarket along Congressional Avenue, Quezon City.
According to Fr. Rommel L. Rubia, “the Nuestra Seπora del la Salud is the title given to a small miraculous image of the Virgin brought by the OAR (Order of Recoletos) fathers in 1634 from Mexico.
The 380-year old image made of ivory adorned with costly and colorful stones “was a precious gift from the Discalced (Barefoot) Carmelite nuns of Mexico to the Recollect missionaries on their way to their missions in the Philippines” in 1634, Fr. Rubia said.
Records of the long and arduous sea voyage resulted in numerous illness to those on board the vessel.
With no doctors on board, the Recoletos fathers bring the image prayed to God before the image of Nuestra Seπora del la Salud.
Their prayers were answered as “miraculous healings occurred after praying in front of the image during the long and difficult trip from Mexico,” Fr. Rubia said.
It was that historic event that the holy image was given the title “La Salud” by the faithful, he pointed out.
Upon arriving in the Philippines, the image was enshrined in the Church of San Juan de Bagumbayan in 1634.
But in 1762 an unfortunate incident occurred when the church and convent were destroyed, and the image was transferred to the Church of San Nicolas in Intramuros, Manila that drew more devotees.
Then in 1945 during the great Battle in Manila where American planes bombed the Japanese totally destroying the city.
However, “the image of La Salud miraculously survived the bombing of the San Nicolas Church,” Fr. Rubia said.
The Recoletos fathers took the image and brought it to the sacristy of San Sebastian Basilica also in Manila for safekeeping for several years.
When the Vicar Provincial transferred its residence in Quezon City in 1970, he took the image with him.
Then in 1988, the image was handed over to the Museo Rekoleto for safekeeping, Fr. Rubia said.
For 72 years the image was kept from the public eye, and many thought the miraculous image was lost or destroyed, and the devotion by the faithful faded into oblivion and never bothered to celebrate her feast day.
“However, in December of 2016 the OAR fathers decided to reintroduce her cult to the Filipino people, giving those afflicted with different illness and sourced of strength, comfort and hope by invoking Mary’s inter cession through this Marian devotion,” Fr. Rubia said.
The miraculous image of Nuestra Seπora del la Salud can now be venerated by the faithful seeking for healing – spiritual and temporal at the San Nicolas Parish in Barangay Toro, Project 6 in Quezon City.