Miracle of the
DOLOROSA DEL COLEGIO
On April 20, 1906, the thirty-six boarding students at St.
Academy, conducted by the Jesuit Fathers in Quito, Ecuador, had just
finished their evening meal. Brother Luis Alberdi was about to take
them to the study hall when Father Andrés Roesch, the
Prefect, came in
and gave the boys a recreation. While the younger lads played or talked
as usual, Father Roesch began speaking to the older boys about the
recent earthquake in San Francisco. 
As four of the younger boys, who had recently made their First
Communion, were conversing on pious subjects, Jaime Chaves, the
youngest of the four, lifted his eyes to a picture of Our lady of
Sorrows hanging on a wall
in the refectory about three meters away.
Prompted by an interior inspiration, the lad gazed attentively
at the picture. Then he saw the Blessed Virgin slowly open and close
Without attempting to explain what he saw, he told his three
classmates. Frightened, they drew the attention of the Prefect and
the other students. The phenomenon lasted around a quarter of an hour.
Father Prefect claimed that it was an illusion and led the boys to
the chapel to say the Rosary even before the prodigy had ended.
The picture in question is an oil painting of medium size (15" x
17"---38 cm x 42 cm), which represents the Mother of Sorrows holding
crown of thorns and the three nails, Her Heart pierced by seven swords.
This very expressive painting inspires devotion, above all by the
profound sorrow and indescribable kindness visible on the face of the
Mother of God.
The miracle is repeated
The miracle of the animation of the Virgin's eyes occurred on several
occasions. The second time it was again on behalf of the students at
the academy. It took place at eight o'clock in the evening as the
students were praying before the holy image, which had been moved into
the chapel. After they finished the Rosary, when they came to the
Litany of the Blessed Virgin, all the boys spontaneously exclaimed,
"Her eyes are moving!"
Such extraordinary events, observed by so many people, soon became the
object of a serious examination by the Ecclesiastical Authorities.
The canonical procedures were conducted with great prudence, much to
the consolation of the faithful.
Six weeks after the first miracle, the Vicar General
ordered the transfer of the miraculous image. It was carried in
procession from the academy chapel to the adjacent Jesuit Fathers'
church, where a solemn triduum was to be celebrated.
It was a magnificent procession. All the communities in the city, the
various associations and solidarities, the academies and schools, most
of the aristocracy of the capital and over thirty thousand people took
part. Such a manifestation of faith, so spontaneous and on such a
grand scale, had seldom been seen in the peaceful city of Quito. In the
church, the wonder was renewed several times before the crowd; many
is known by its fruit"
One remarkable conversion was that of
the editor of the Tiempo, one
of the most anti-religious newspapers of
the period. The unbelieving journalist had joined the crowd of the
faithful with the sole intention of mocking the Blessed Virgin.
However, almost as soon as he saw Her open and close Her eyes, he fell
to his knees and broke into tears of true repentance. His way of life
subsequently proved the sincerity of his conversion.
Another unbeliever came to church at the very moment the people were
enthusiastically exclaiming that the prodigy was being renewed. With
great insolence he remained standing in front of the image. When he saw
the Blessed Virgin's eyes move, he exclaimed, "I don't believe it!" and
then left. Once outdoors, he retraced his steps, saw the movement of
the eyes as he had the first time, repeated the same declaration of
unbelief and left again. But something kept forcing him to go back to
the church. This disturbed him, and he went in a third time. Grace
triumphed over his obstinacy at last and he fell to his knees, weeping
like a child.
Many people who witnessed this miracle attested that when they saw
it, they felt strongly moved by grace and drawn to the practice of
virtue. Numerous conversions ensued.
Shortly after the triduum, a novena was begun to ask for Our
help on behalf of Ecuador. The prodigy of the eyes was renewed on three
consecutive days and witnessed by many people.
When the first miracle had occurred, the episcopal see of Quito was
vacant. Bishop Federico Gonzá
was named to fill the
vacancy. Appointed Archbishop of Quito, he took possession of his new
see on July 6, 1906; that day the miracle was renewed three times. The
third occurrence took place at two o'clock in the afternoon, at the
very moment the new archbishop entered the city, and as the choir was
Once again, O Mary,
Turn thy motherly eyes
Upon those who kneel before thee,
Imploring thy compassion. 
The Blessed Virgin in the picture moved Her eyes slowly. Then the
background of the image faded and only the face stood out in relief.
Its complexion was that of a living person. The Blessed Virgin opened
and closed Her eyes. Twice She lifted them to Heaven. At times She
seemed to be making an effort to hold back Her tears. Then Her face
turned pale and waxen, as though She were about to die. Filled with
dismay, the faithful burst into tears and cried out, begging for pardon
and mercy. At last the face
of the Blessed Virgin returned to its usual serenity and natural color.
The same miracle took place in Riobamba with a reproduction of the holy
image. Members of one of the leading families of that town and over
twenty other persons, including the local president, saw Her eyes open
and close very distinctly.
As we mentioned above, the canonical investigation was conducted
all due gravity. Before the new Archbishop's appointment, the Vicar
General had gathered all the witnesses, over forty in number, and
explained the importance and magnitude of the written declaration they
were about to sign. These declarations were to be made under oath
before unbiased witnesses. The Commission of Inquiry also proceeded
scrupulously in the scientific study of the event in question. Several
commissions made up of men of science were formed; they were to
establish whether any kind of natural explanation were possible.
Physicists, chemists, photographers, physicians and theologians
deliberated at great length. To avoid the slightest suspicion of
partiality or self-interest, the Jesuits were not authorized to
participate in these commissions.
Calumniators did not fail to attack these proceedings and label
everything as a hoax. Therefore, it had to be proven that there was no
reasonable foundation to their critical allegations.
Once the inquiry and the prescribed formalities were concluded, the
Vicar General issued the following declaration in Quito on June 3,
1. The event which occurred on April 20th in the Jesuit Fathers'
Academy is established as historically certain.
2. The event, considering the circumstances in which it occurred,
cannot be explained by natural laws.
3. The event, because of what preceded it as well as what followed it,
cannot be attributed to any diabolical influence.
And the decree adds: Consequently, it is permitted to believe in
The faithful may render to the image that occasioned this event the
public devotions permitted by the Church,  and pray before the image
with legitimate confidence.
To understand the declaration in the third paragraph in reference to
what preceded the phenomenon, let us mention that this miracle had been
predicted, though obscurely, by the Blessed Virgin Herself to a young
girl of high virtue, well known for her supernatural gifts. Several
days before the event, Mary had revealed to her that She intended to
give a special sign of Her approval of the practice of children being
raised by religious. St. Gabriel's Academy had reached a point of total
decline. But then,
in 1906, at the height of the anti-clerical era, the April 20th miracle
occurred in the presence of the students and Fathers of the academy.
The academy received a new lease on life, and from that day on it
experienced a flourishing revival.
1. That earthquake, 8.3 on the scale, occurred
on April 18, 1906; it almost entirely destroyed the city of San
Francisco and took the lives of about 3,000 people.
2. Vuelve otra vez, Maria, Los
maternales ojos, A los que aqui de hinojos, Te piden compasión.
3. Devotions permitted by the Church: that is, to honor, venerate
expose the image and pray before the image, which reminds us of the
Mother of God and Her kindness. Those who oppose the cult of images or
call it an idolatry are simply manifesting their ignorance. We are
happy to display photos of our loved ones in our home or carry them on
our person, to remind us of them and to prove our love. Can that be
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