A city’s fate decided by a mule
Guadalupe, a small city located in La Libertad, in the northern coast of Peru, was established on April 15th, 1550.
When Francisco Pizarro and his men conquered Peru, they received several towns as fiefs. One of them, Captain Perez de Lescano, was given many towns of the Jequetepeque valley, making him move to Trujillo (capital of La Libertad) permanently. The chief magistrate of Trujillo wasn’t happy with the captain’s presence there, and when some propaganda against him started running around, he accused Perez de Lescano of being the author, making him become sentenced to death.
The day of the execution, in the morning, the real author was found, a clergyman, who ran along the Chagres river, yet he was devoured by a caiman. Perez de Lescano, still a prisoner, prayed to Our Lady of Guadalupe (the Spanish one), and after he received his miracle (that the real author would appear), he and his wife went back to Spain to ask for a replica of the Virgin, which the Church accepted.
The image was brought in a trunk, disembarking at the Cherrepe port on January 24th, 1550. The image was to be put in a chapel in the Pacasmayo Valley, so it would be worshipped there. The Virgin’s image was transported by mules, but when the animals reached a certain point, they refused to go on, and the captain took it as a sign: the Virgin wanted to stay there.
In 1564, Perez de Lescano donated the image and part of his estate to the Augustinians, who relocated to Anlape, in the foothills of Namul, an extinct volcano, where houses began being built – this is now known as Old Guadalupe. Anlape would become the biggest Catholic pilgrimage center of the Viceroyalty of Peru. In 1619, an earthquake destroyed Anlape, so the survivors moved to what is now the city of Guadalupe, where they built another Saint Augustine’s Church, now considered a South American architectural jewel.
Moved by their faith, the people of Guadalupe built a monument dedicated to the Virgin on top of the hill Namul, now known as “the Virgin’s hill”. They say, that if you ever visit this city, you must go all the way up and pray to the Virgin. After doing so, she will grant you a miracle, like she did in 1550.