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Puerto Rico's Wooden Saints: Images of
The Virgin of the Well


Virgin of the Well
Carlos Santiago, saint-carver
Collection of the Artist


Well of the Virgin,
Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico
Where does the tradition of the Virgin of the Well originate?
The origin of the devotion to the Virgin of the Well or the Madonna del Pozzo can be traced back to Rome of the Middle Ages. The tradition tells of what occurred when someone threw an image of the Virgin Mary engraved on a stone into a cistern or well. The water in the well began to bubble and surge until the stone was elevated to the opening of the well. Witnesses testified to the forceful surge of the water that raised the stone bearing the image of Mary to the top of the well. The event was immediately recognized as a miracle, to the extent that the Pope conducted a procession to the site of the occurrence. From that point on, the devotion was known as the Virgin of the Well or Madonna del Pozzo.

What is the Puerto Rican observance of the Virgin of the Well?
In 1953, three children: Juan Ángel Collado and the sisters Ramonita and Isidra Belén, students of the rural  Lola R. de Tió school in the Rincón neighborhood of Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico, said to have seen the Virgin of the Rosary appear before them for 33 consecutive day in the surroundings of a small water well that was near the school.
  As time passed, the belief began to grow, acquiring devotees extending throughout the American continent, known fondly as the Virgin of the Well.
  But in 2000, the Vatican declared that there the evidence establishing that a miracle had occurred was did not satisfy the requirements of the Church. Notwithstanding, the devotion to the Virgin of the Well persists to this day among many devotees on the Island.

More details about the Well of the Virgin in Sabana Grande (In Spanish only)