The Child Jesus of the Cross
on Pichincha Mountain
Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D.
This is one of the many apparitions granted to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres (1563-1635). Favored with many singular gifts from heaven, this Conceptionist sister in Quito, Ecuador was given to know many future events, especially the grievous situation of the Church in the 20th century.|
Our Lady told her that in our lamentable times, heresies would abound, the corruption of manners and customs would be almost complete, and the light of the Faith nearly extinguished. To atone for the many profanities, blasphemies, and abuses and to hasten the day of the triumphant restoration, this 17th century sister was asked to become an expiatory victim for our times. Thus, in a special way, the vocation of Mother Mariana links her to the crisis in the Church and society that few would deny we are witnessing today.
The Christ Child Crucified on a side altar of the Church in the Conceptionist Convent in Quito
The vision of the Christ Child crucified on Mount Pichincha in 1628 reveals the origin of a popular Spanish devotion. Christ, who appears as a mere child or adolescent in the various holy cards depicting the scene, embraces the Cross in anticipation of His future sacrifice and asks mankind this poignant question: “How can I do more to show My love for you?”
The devotion finds deep roots in Catholic tradition. For example, in The City of God, Blessed Mary of Agreda tells us that when Our Lord was still a youth in the house of Loreto, He would often assume a position in the form of a cross. In the presence of His Mother, who would then imitate His prayers and position, He would pray: “O Most blessed Cross! When shall thy arms receive Mine? When shall I rest on thee and when shall My arms, nailed to thine, be spread to welcome all sinners” (The Transfixion).
The apparition of the Child Jesus Crucified on Mount Pichincha, which Our Lady promised Mother Mariana was destined to produce a great good for souls, presents a vivid and moving picture of the Christ Child’s great love for the children of Adam and His great desire - even in His delicate youth - to suffer for their redemption.
The many apparitions and favors received by Mother Mariana were duly examined and approved by the Church authorities of the time, and devotion to Our Lady of Good Success continues to this day both within and outside the cloistered Conceptionist Convent in Quito. [Miracles worked through the intercession of Mother Mariana should be reported to Msgr. Luis E. Cadena y Almeida, Episcopal Palace, Quito, Ecuador, the postulator for the cause of beatification of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, who has written a book on her life]. This article is an abridged chapter from a recently released book Stories and Miracles of Our Lady of Good Success.
The end of the beautiful dawns
Toward the end of 1628, Mother Mariana was praying at midnight in the upper choir when Our Lord revealed to her many of the future events of the Spanish Colony. She saw the whole Colony in agitation, a war of independence, and the land bathed in blood. Her heart felt that it would break upon seeing all this chaos and destruction, and she begged Our Lord that His will might prevail and that the party He favored might triumph.
She then understood that the Colony would separate itself from its mother country and become the Republic of Ecuador. This would be a chastisement for the infidelities and innumerable abuses of so many of the authorities sent by the King to govern the country.
She saw that when this would happen, the beautiful dawn that each morning would break forth with refulgence over this land – so enchantingly spectacular that some persons would rise at daybreak just to enjoy this work of the Creator – would lose some of its brilliance. This favor would cease, she was given to understand, because the Republic would become corrupt and ungrateful for the benefits received from it by God.
She saw that not only civil, but also ecclesiastical offices would be held by numerous obdurate and malicious Judases. Instigated and possessed by the diabolical spirit, they would sell their Lord for a few coins. She saw the miserable and disastrous fate of these poor souls for all eternity.
The secret as well as public chastisements of this poor country, which would then be called the Republic of Ecuador, were revealed to her. She was given to know that the Republic would have been destroyed and buried under the debris of an earthquake if the Divine Goodness had not raised up heroic and just souls in secret and diverse ways. These souls were the victims who would placate Divine Justice with their prayers, sacrifices, and great sufferings during this sad epoch.
War between the Angels and the Demons
After witnessing the end of the war, she saw Ecuador completely covered by a black cloud composed of uncountable demons. With diabolical screams and laughter, they tried to overpower the new Republic so that they might govern from its very inception. For its foundation, they laid the malice of the seven capital sins and hatred of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. They tried to abolish all the convents, cloisters and pious institutions. Thus they breathed their blasphemous fumes throughout the land, polluting the whole atmosphere with a dense fog that obscured the precious light of Faith in souls and hardened the hearts of the people.
In the next vision, Heaven opened its skies and a clear strong light streamed over all of Ecuador. From every convent and cloister issued a burst of stars that rose to Heaven, and she heard the voice of the Prince of Angels, St. Michael, say:
A view of the Conceptionist Church on the corner of the downtown plaza in Quito
“Descend immediately to the depths of the abyss, cursed black legions, for here God lives, God triumphs, and God reigns in all times by means of His chosen souls. The more triumphant you think yourselves to be, the nearer approaches your defeat! Alas for this new republic without its religious communities! For without them, it could not subsist!”
Then lightning flashes and swords of fire pierced every corner of the land. The diabolical legions fled, but howled their threats to wage a cruel war unceasingly against this small portion of the earth, where the Woman, their enemy, would be so venerated and loved. For, they screamed in their fury, if they could only succeed in extinguishing the people’s devotion to her, the victory would be theirs.
“The time will come,” they cried, “when we will have excellent agents who will conquer almost all of this land for us. We will reward them with earthly pleasures, comforts and riches, and then we will torment them in hell for all eternity because these ungrateful wretches ignored the mercies and benefits of their Creator.” As the demons were expelled, a great calm returned and the sun shone with a great brilliance.
Vision of the Child Jesus on the Pichincha Mountain
Then Our Lady of Good Success carrying her Divine Infant in her right arm appeared to Mother Mariana and said:
“Lift your eyes now and look at the Pichincha Mountain, where you will see this Divine Infant Whom I carry in my arms crucified. I deliver Him to the Cross so that He might always give good successes to this Republic.”
The Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael carried the Divine Child to Pichincha Mountain, which overlooks the city of Quito, and is surrounded only by thorn bushes bearing a delicate flower. Here the Child Jesus took the form of a boy of about 12 to 15 years of age, His expression sweetly majestic. He prostrated Himself on the ground with His arms extended as on a cross and prayed to His Eternal Father to look with favor on Ecuador.
A celestial light enveloped the whole mountain, and the Christ Child rose and stood before a cross with the inscription INRI at its head. On its left arm hung a crown of sharp thorns; on its right, a white stole.
The three Archangels reappeared, with St. Gabriel carrying a white Host. St. Michael bore a long white tunic speckled with stars and St. Raphael carried a mantle of a magnificent rose color unknown on this earth. The Child Jesus vested Himself in the white tunic and stole, and over them draped the magnificent mantle. Then He approached the cross, took the crown of thorns and placed it on His Head. He extended His arms and remained crucified, but without any nails appearing either on His hands or feet. Down His cheeks streamed large tears, which were gathered up by the Archangels St. Michael and St. Raphael and dispersed throughout the new nation.
He then ordered St. Gabriel to place the Host behind His head, where it became a kind of halo. Three resplendent beams of light streamed from it. On the center ray appeared the word LOVE, on the ray to His right, ECUADOR, and on the ray to His left, SPAIN. His expression reflected an intense pain, but also a serene joy to suffer for those whom He loved so dearly. As drops of blood fell from the wounds on His hands, feet and forehead, He fixed His gaze on the country and said these words:
“I can do no more to show My love for you. Ungrateful souls, who repay the great love and attentions of My Heart with contempt, sacrileges and blasphemies. At least you, My beloved and hidden spouses, be My consolation in My Eucharistic solitude. Keep watch in My Company. Do not be overcome by the sleep of indifference to God, Who loves you so much. Always be the heroines of your country during the bitter and dire times that will come. Your humble, secret, and silent prayer and voluntary penances will save it from the destruction toward which its ungrateful sons will lead it. For these wretched ones, rebuffing and despising the good, will exalt and serve the evil and self-serving satellites of Satan.”
Six years later: Another vision
Thus was the Child Jesus crucified on the grand Pichincha Mountain.
One year before her death, Mother Mariana received another vision of Our Lady of Good Success, who appeared as always with the Child Jesus in her left arm and crosier in her right hand. Once again, she spoke of the war that was coming when the colony would separate itself from the Spanish Kingdom to become a free republic. To comfort her daughter in her great grief over the knowledge of this severance, the Queen of Heaven consoled her with these words:
“I will have you know that this independence is most desirable, for this will diminish the responsibilities of the monarchs, who have appointed their representatives to govern this land. For these representatives who become ambitious and arrogate undue liberties offend the Church, insult the Ministers of God, and consider themselves to be absolute masters over everything.
The mysterious prophecy repeated
“You know of the uncountable evils that will be inflicted upon the Church in this Colony during these times, even on the part of its ecclesiastic representatives, also appointed through the favor of the Kings. Because of this, how many scandals will be given! How many disputes and quarrels will arise! How many sins will be committed that will offend God!
“But We have a great love for this small portion of earth, which will one day be Ecuador. Taking into account the truly good souls who will live here, We pledge that one day as a Republic it will be solemnly consecrated to the Most Sacred Heart of my Divine Son. Then, with a loud voice will it be proclaimed from one end of the country to the other: The Republic of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
Then Our Lady repeated the mysterious prophecy that she had given in the great apparition of February 2, 1634, when the tabernacle light had been extinguished:
“Dire times will come, whose very light will blind those who should justly defend the rights of the Church. Without servile fear or human respect, these shepherds will instead assist the enemies of the Church or help them accomplish their designs.”
“But woe to the error of the wise, to him who governs the church, the Pastor of the flock that my Most Holy Son confided into his care.
“And when they appear triumphant and when the authority abuses my power, committing injustices and oppressing the weak, near will be their downfall. Dumbfounded, they will fall to the ground.
“Then, joyful and triumphant, like a tender child, the Church will be reborn and will sweetly sleep, cradled in the capable arms and maternal heart of my most beloved elect son of those times, who will render himself docile to the inspirations of grace. We will fill him with graces and very special gifts; We will make him great on earth and even greater in Heaven, where We have reserved for him a most precious seat. For, without fear of man, he fought for the truth and dauntlessly defended the rights of the Church, for which he will justly be called martyr” (1)
Our Lady orders pictures to be made of the Christ Child of Pichincha
“You saw my Divine Child crucified on Pichincha Mountain,” Our Lady continued.
“This was not by mere chance. Since this mountain dominates the city, my Most Holy Son wants to sanctify this place, where the Sacred Heart of my Jesus wants to exercise His dominion.
At the same time of this vision, Our Lady enlightened the heart of Bishop Pedro de Oviedo, a truly good and holy Prelate, who was permitted to contemplate the scene of the Child Jesus on the Cross on Pichincha Mountain. He ordered the pictures to be made in Spain with the firm conviction that the devotion would spread and would bring the grace of winning hearts to the love of God. Mother Mariana also had a statue sculpted of the Divine Child exactly as she had seen Him on Pichincha Mountain. With the permission of the ecclesiastical authority, it was introduced for the veneration of the faithful under the invocation of the Child Jesus of the Cross of Pichincha. This devotion has continued to our time, and the statue is kept in the church of the Immaculate Conception convent in Quito.
“And just as, by my command, my statue will remain upon the Abbess’ seat in the upper choir of this Convent to govern and defend it and for the well-being of the whole country, so also do We desire that you should have pictures made of this vision, availing yourself of the present Bishop, a prudent and virtuous Prelate who governs with great meekness of heart. On these pictures should be written the very words that you heard from the lips of your Crucified Love on Pichincha Mountain. These pictures will travel throughout the whole world and will be the source of holy inspirations, but their origin will not be known for some time. The day will come, however, when it will be known…”
Time has borne witness to the truth of the prophecies of Our Lady regarding the Spanish colony that became the Republic of Ecuador. The move for independence was hastened by Napoleon’s armed invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in 1807-8 and his disruption of monarchical rule by taking prisoner King Ferdinand VII of Spain. The decisive battle on Mount Pichincha in 1822 that set Ecuador on its path to independence took place at the very site where the Christ Child appeared crucified to Mother Mariana in 1628. Thus, almost two hundred years to the day, on May 13, 1830, authorities of Quito proclaimed Ecuador to be a “free and independent state.”
However, civil wars and political unrest followed the war of independence in the new Republic of Ecuador. From the beginning Freemasons sought control of the government. The anti-clerical and anti-aristocratic forces lined up with its first president, Juan Flores, a Mason, against the religious and political conservatives. (2) At the same time, ecclesiastical abuses were flagrant, with concubinage, profligacy, gambling and open violations of monastic rules scandalously common among the Ecuadorian clergy, just as Our Lady of Good Success had forewarned.
But Ecuador also had the great consolation of having the “truly Catholic” president promised by Our Lady to Mother Mariana. (3) In 1860 Garcia Gabriel Moreno (1821-1875) was elected president. Welding an alliance with the Church, he instituted a strict reform under conservative policies and brought to Ecuador a period of stability and prosperity. The 1861 Constitution written under his guidance established Catholicism as the state religion. He reformed and disciplined monks and priests and turned the educational system over to them. A subsequent constitution promulgated in 1869 further infuriated the liberals by excluding heretics from citizenship. In 1873 he consecrated Ecuador to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as foretold to Mother Mariana more than 200 years earlier. On August 6, 1875 as he prepared for a third term, Garcia Moreno was assassinated by the Masons. His brutal murder precipitated Ecuador into a period of new conflicts and instability that stretched into the 20th century.
Significance: Youth made for sacrifice, not pleasure
There is a multitude of meanings for men with eyes of faith to see in the apparitions and prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success. They lend themselves in a particularly keen sense to our times, for, indeed, they were meant for our times. As Mother Mariana confided to Bishop Oveido, “All this will be recorded now in order to verify its truth in those times (the 20th century) that will be so decadent in faith.”
The Christ Child on the Cross of the Pichincha presents a poignant picture of a youth Who embraces the Cross in His love for mankind — and an example for those who would follow in His footsteps. Our modern age has been preaching the exact opposite to youth throughout the 20th century: “Youth was made for pleasure. Have a good time – you’re only young once.” This devotion encourages young people to embrace the Cross, to renounce the pleasures, even legitimate ones, of this life in preparation for eternity.
The accuracy of past prophecies gives assurance of future promises
Events in Ecuador came to pass exactly as Our Lady of Good Success prophesied to Mother Mariana: the Republic was proclaimed 200 years after the vision; Masonic forces tried to control it from its very inception; a truly Catholic president dedicated the Republic to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; the devils have besieged this morsel of land so beloved by Our Lord and Our Lady with political chaos and anti-clerical schemes. The perfect accuracy of these prophecies, as well as so many others, lends support and credibility to those that are still to be fulfilled.
For Our Lady has also predicted a great victory, not only for Ecuador but for the whole world. At the very moment when “the evil will appear triumphant and when the authority abuses my power,” this would “mark the arrival of my hour, when I, in a marvelous way will dethrone the proud and accursed Satan, trampling him under my feet and fettering him in the infernal abyss.” (4)
Her statue, a miraculous work completed by the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, exudes a sweet serenity and encourages confidence in this great promise of victory. One senses an immense benevolence in her gaze, which communicates a grace that whispers in the depth of the soul that we need only confide, and she will give everything. Confiding in that maternal goodness, we can turn to Our Lady of Good Success certain that she will come to our assistance in our personal trials and sufferings because she is our Mother. And she will come to the aid of the Holy Church, the Mystical Bride of Christ, in this terrible crisis because she is Queen of Heaven and Earth. It is this promise of victory that yet remains to be fulfilled and that we await with childlike trust.
(1) M. Horvat, Our Lady of Good Success, Prophecies for Our Times, Los Angeles: TIA, Inc., 2000, pp. 57-8.
(2) 1 Mark van Aken, King of the Night: Juan Jose Flores and Ecuador 1824-1864 (Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989), pp. 8-11.
(3) M. Horvat, Our Lady of Good Success, p. 37.
(4) Ibid., p. 18.
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