The Virgin is a two feet tall terracotta statue of Our Lady. It was made in Brazil and sent to Argentina in May 1630. Its original appearance seemed inspired by Murillo’s Immaculates. In 1887, to preserve and protect it, the image was given a solid silver covering. It is usually clothed with a white robe and sky blue cloak, the colors of the Argentinian flag. Only the dark oval face with big blue eyes and the hands folded in prayer are now visible.
Tradition says that an ox-drawn wagon was taking the statue from Buenos Aires to Santiago del Estero. The animals stopped at the Luján River and refused to cross. Through trial and error the teamsters discovered that it the box with the Virgin was in the wagon, the oxen would not move; if it was removed, then away they went. After testing this several times, the people realized that Our Lady wanted to stay in Luján, and so she is there today.
The image was first taken to the nearby home of Don Rosendo. He built a primitive chapel for it which lasted 40 years. A bigger shrine was completed in 1685. A new sanctuary was built in the 19th century. The image was crowned canonically in 1887. In 1930 Pope Pius XII gave the sanctuary the title of Basilica.