David H. Pereyra
A Marian apparition in the Roman Catholic tradition is an event in which the Blessed Virgin Mary is believed to have supernaturally appeared to one or more people. They are often given names based on the town in which there was an account of the apparition. Marian apparitions sometimes are reported to recur at the same site over an extended period of time. In the Americas, it is a phenomenon with started at the time of the Spanish Conquista in the 1500s and has continued. This chapter explores seven traditional places of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in South America and their geographical, historical, and religious dimensions in order to fully apprehend the sense of popular piety in the region. Topics considered are how Marian Sanctuaries become sacred places, tourism and local pilgrimages, and sanctuaries’ architecture. Traditional conflicts between official religious leaders and the local population and the official confirmation by the latter are analyzed. Finally, theological aspects related to popular piety and all the religious practices that arose and occur outside of the official Catholic Church are discussed. A map with the location of the different sanctuaries is included together with images of the different churches and the religious pilgrimages and celebrations.