The Apparition of the Image
It was in 1717 that a simple and damaged image transformed the faith of a people, so that later Our Lady of Aparecida was granted the title of Patroness of Brazil. Fishermen João Alves, Felipe Pedroso and Domingos Garcia were in charge of catching fish for the banquet the Village of Santo Antônio de Guaratinguetá would offer to Dom Pedro de Almeida e Portugal, the Count of Assumar, which at that time was also Governor of the Province of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, and was visiting the region between October 17 and 30, 1717.
It was after many attempts to catch fish that those three men pulled out an image of Our Lady from the dark waters of the Paraíba River, found in the fishing nets in two pieces: first the body and then, downstream, the head.
João Alves, Felipe Pedroso and Domingos Garcia, after placing the image inside their boat, had the chance of experiencing the action of the Mother of God. Those three fishermen, who couldn’t catch any fish, ended up filling their nets with a large quantity of fish. Before taking the fish to the banquet, they delivered the pieces of the statue to Silvana da Rocha Alves, Domingos’ wife, Felipe’s sister, and João’s mother, who glued those two parts with wax, and placed the image on a small altar in their family home, thanking Our Lady for the miracle of the fish.