|Virgin Suyapa, painting by Carin Steen|
The tiny image of Our Lady Conception of Suyapa was found one Saturday in the month of February by Alejandro Colindres, a young and humble farmer and an eight -year-old boy, Jorge Martinez , while returning to the village of Suyapa, tired after working all day in the corn fields.
They were only half way home when it got dark. They had just reached the Piligüín creek and decided it was a good place to spend the night. There they lay down on the hard ground. All of a sudden, Alejandro felt an object, apparently a rock that was bothering his back. In the pitch black of the night, he picked it up and threw it away.
But when he lied down again, he felt a discomfort in the exact same place. This time he did not throw the object away, intrigued by what happened, but put it in his backpack. In light of dawn he discovered to his surprise that the mysterious object was a small statue of Our Lady carved in cedar.
Our Lady of Suyapa measures just six inches and a half and is possibly an ancient work devotedly worked on by some amateur artist Her angelic look reflects the nobility of the indigenous race. She is dark skinned with an oval face, round cheeks and straight hair. The original color of her robe is pale pink, barely showing because of a blue cloak studded with golden stars and decorated with valuable jewels draped over her shoulders.
In 1925 Pius XII declared Our Lady of Suyapa Patroness of the Republic of Honduras and chose February 3 as the day of celebration with a mass and processions.