Nuestra Señora del Refugio

Lady refuge  Nuestra Señora del Refugio

(Our Lady of Refuge of Sinners)

by Dorothy Bell

Painting by Joseph de Paez (1750)

Feast Day July 4 & 5th

Iconic Image

The multiple images of Our Lady of Refuge follow a similar pattern. Both the infant Jesus and Mary wear a crown and their heads lean towards each other. There is no background between them. Mary looks at the observer while Christ looks to the left.

The History of the Image

Lady refugebaldincucciThe Franciscan College of Zacatecas received the original Mexican bound painting from a Jesuit Missionary from Italy who brought the painting to explain the interest in Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners that had developed in parish missions in eighteenth-century Italy.

Blessed Antonio Baldincucci

(Blessed Antonio Baldincucci (1665-1717) was a Jesuit missionary, popularized the image as he preached and created missions throughout Italy. Baldinucci strongly desired to develop overseas missions but was refused because of his poor health. This talented orator and teacher carried the painting of “Our Lady of Refuge of Sinners” with him as he preached and converted the masses.)

The image soon gained followers and popularity in Mexico when introduced to missionaries in Mexico

The Image of Our Lady of Refuge was copied – often by a local or native artist – and hung in mission churches or places of worship throughout the Californias and in many parts of northern Mexico and Texas.

Lady refuge2Patroness of the Californias

Franciscan missionary Francisco Diego Garcia y Moreno, the first Bishop of Baja California proclaimed Nuestra Señora del Refugio as Patron on January 4, 1843 at Mission Santa Clara in Alta California.

He proclaimed “We make known to you that we hereby name the great Mother of God in her most precious title, ‘del Refugio, ‘ the principal patroness of our diocese . . . With so great a patroness and protectress, what can we not promise ourselves? What can be wanting and whom need we fear?”

“If through the centuries this most worthy Mother of God has shown goodness and compassion to all peoples and nations… will she not do likewise for those peoples who bind themselves to her as their refuge and special patroness?”


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