Monumento de La Virgen Santísima de Guadalupe – Monterrey, Mexico - Atlas Obscura

Monumento de La Virgen Santísima de Guadalupe

After it was missing for a decade, this 40-foot statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was found and returned to a place of honor—with a little help from a tropical storm. 


Monterrey is a Mexican city of grand proportions. Skyscrapers populate the skyline, including the tallest building in Latin America. Beyond the metropolis, the Sierra Madre Mountain range surrounds the city, including the famous El Cerro de la Silla, a hill shaped like a horse saddle. 

Mother nature’s creations and man-made inventions influence the city below. However, there is one imposing figure whose inception is a little more unclear, perhaps the most revered of them all, and the mother of all Mexico’s mothers: a 40-foot-tall sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

At her feet lie flowers and other tributes by those who have come to pay their respects. Onlooking drivers see her as they pass by on the busy main avenue where she stands. Immediately behind her, in line with the traffic, the water flows in the Santa Catarina River. And it is here where the story of her miraculous discovery began in the most unlikely circumstances.  

On July 30, 2020, she reappeared almost 300 meters downstream from her original location when the rains of tropical storm Hanna unearthed her at the bottom of the riverbed. 

She had been missing for over 10 years, since July 1, 2010, when Hurricane Alex increased the influx of the River and tore the statue - measuring just over 12 meters and weighing 10 tons—from its standing position. There she had been erected to commemorate the second visit of Pope John Paul II to Monterrey in 1990 when he gave her his blessing. 

The local government tried to rescue her, but unfortunately, they, together with the archdiocese, decided to leave her to rest because she was buried six meters deep, and unearthing her would most likely cause damage to the sculpture’s structure. After the news, believers attended a vigil and lit candles all around her since they considered the event a sign of hope in the face of the tropical storm and the global emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These interventions of nature—a tropical storm AND a hurricane—were seen as a miracle by many and a sign, perhaps, of the near end of the pandemic, especially among Monterrey’s faithful Catholics. Therefore, to commemorate her miraculous discovery, a group of individuals and members of the Catholic Church of Monterrey decided to finance a replica.

However, with the expertise of a local Monterrey steel company, significant advancements were made in restoring the original. The archdiocese announced that she would be returning to her former glory. On December 9, 2020, the original was reinstated where she once stood 10 years ago. And there she stands today in all her glory, for all her beloved believers. 

Know Before You Go

Visit the links in the sources section to see the discovery of the sculpture at the bottom of the riverbed. It looks like a golden cookie-cutter full of Rocky Road.

As well as enduring two national disasters, access to the lady Guadalupe sculpture has been compromised recently. Instead of the highway bridge google maps directs you to, take the bridge further down the avenue. The faithful are still visiting - shown by all the tributes - they have to take a slightly longer walk from the footbridge, past the broken bridge, to the feet of lady Guadalupe. Please don't use the broken bridge; you can climb the stairs but can't walk across it! That part is missing!

Who knows what happened to the replica; the sources don't confer.

There is, however, a reincarnation of the scultpture on Loma hill that looks down upon the valley, known as Virgen Guadalupe (Loma Larga), which is not to be confused with the original not far away.

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