- Virgin del Carmen
In 1785 Don Martin de Lecuna ordered an image of Our Lady of Carmel from a sculptor in Quito. The statue and the devotion to it have since been associated with the struggle of the Chilean people for independence.
On 5 December 1811 General José Miguel Carrera and General Bernardo O’Higgins asked the Vicar of Santiago de Chile for a “Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving” for success in the struggle for independence. On 5 January 1817, General José de San Martin placed his baton in the right hand of the image, and named her patroness of the Army of the Andes. On the eve of the battle of Chabuco, General O’Higgins proclaimed the Virgen of Carmel patroness and general of the Chilean armed forces. In 1818, as Spanish forces advanced, the people and their leaders crowded into the cathedral to place their prayers and trust at Our Lady‘s feet, promising to raise a church in her honor at the site where Chile‘s independence is signed. By the end of the year construction had begun. The shrine was completed in 1892, and the present church in October 1974.
In 1923, at the request of the Chilean bishops, the Vatican proclaimed the Virgin of Carmel principal patroness of all Chileans, not just the army and navy. There are two Carmel images that Chileans venerate, one at the National Shrine of Maipú, carved in Quito, Ecuador in 1785, the other made in France, and housed at the Basilica of the Savior in Santiago de Chile.