Centennial of the pilgrimage of the Escriva family to Torreciudad
The year 2004 marks the centennial of the pilgrimage made in thanksgiving by the Escrivá family to the shrine of Our Lady of Torreciudad. They attributed the cure of their son, for whose cure the doctor in Barbastro had given up hope, to the intercession of the Virgin Mary. “My son, our Lady kept you in this world for something great,” Doña Dolores would sometimes tell young Josemaría.
In 1930, Saint Josemaría wrote in his personal journal: “My Lady and Mother! You have given me the grace of a vocation; you saved my life as a child; you have heard me, so many times!” He refers here to the miraculous cure that his parents obtained from Mary in 1904, when he was two years old. Andres Vázquez de Prada, one of the founder’s biographers, describes what happened: “Around that time he came down with a serious illness, possibly an acute infection... One evening, Dr. Ignacio Camps Valdovinos, the family doctor, came to visit the child. He was an experienced physician with a good clinical eye, but in those days there was no way to stop the course of a virulent infection...There came a moment when Dr. Camps had to say to Don José, ‘I’m sorry, Pepe, he won’t make it through the night.’ With great faith, the parents went on asking God to cure their son. Doña Dolores trustingly began a novena to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and the couple promised our Lady that if their child recovered, they would take him on a pilgrimage to her shrine of Torreciudad.” Esperanza Corrales, at that time a neighbor of the Escrivá’s, recalls: “The sickness came to an unexpected crisis, and little Josemaría came through it despite the gloomy predictions of the doctors. When he had fully recovered, the Escrivá’s with the little boy in their arms fulfilled their promise of going as pilgrims to give thanks to Our Lady of Torreciudad.”
In another passage of his biography, Vázquez de Prada describes the pilgrimage: “On horseback, along winding mountain trails, they traveled the fourteen long miles. Doña Lola, riding sidesaddle and carrying the boy in her arms, was frightened by all the jolting they experienced between the crags and deep gorges plunging down to the Cinca River. Perched on a steep hilltop is the shrine of Torreciudad. There, at the feet of our Lady, they offered the child in thanksgiving.”
Romana, No. 39, July-December 2004, p. 239.