One of the recurring themes here on the blog is the Basque presence in the colonies of the New World, for many reasons. But all of them, or many of them, concentrate on fascination.
It’s our fascination in the influence a handful of Basques who came from a country not widely known for its wealth or immense population managed to achieve in that part of the world. Indeed, it was hardly wealthy and sparsely populated, but still they managed to have a great deal of influence and a leading role not only in colonial times, but also after the countries became independent republics.
We’re also fascinated by how well they were able to organize right from the start. The brotherhoods and guilds that the “members of the Basque nation” created throughout the Americas to group together those from Álava, Biscay, Gipuzkoa, and Navarre (and the Northern Basques who came through and passed themselves off as Southern compatriots) speaks to us of the need they had to organize themselves and to protect themselves.
We’ve spoken a lot about this on the blog, and we’re sure we’ll continue to do so. But today, we’re going to focus on an event that might seem “tangential” but is actually “core” to this Basque adventure in the Americas.
Our Lady of Aránzazu in Lima
October 18 (which it still is in the lands we’re discussing today as we publish) marks the 375th anniversary of Our Lady of Aránzazu being enthroned in the New World.
On this day in 1646, the icon of the Virgin which had been brought to Lima by a member of the Brotherhood of Aránzazu of Lima, founded in 1612, had brought back took its place as the centerpiece of the altar the Brotherhood had at the Convent of St. Francis.
Peruvian historian José de la Puente Brunke, a descendant of one of the oldest families in that brotherhood, tells the tale in this article.
In it, in just a few interesting pages, he offers an overview of what this Brotherhood was, how it was a role model for understanding all those which opened in the Americas; the devotion to Our Lady of Aránzazu in Lima, which continues to this day; and the history of the arrival of the icon, which was quite an event in mid-17th century Lima.
It also recalls the importance that the vault under the Church of St. Francis of Lina, where the Basques were buried. We spoke about this vault in the article where the Limako Aranzazu Euzko Etxea denounced how it was being turned into a tourist attraction.
The Basques and Our Lady of Guadalupe of Mexico
Moreover, in December of 2021, the 490th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be commemorated in Mexico. This is another story in which the Basques play a leading role, and which also has a connection to Aránzazu.
When it’s ready, we’ll share these connections in a very special video we’re putting together. But we can say that the Bishop of Mexico City, Fr. Juan de Zumarraga, one of the protagonists in the history of Guadalupe, was a Basque, and as a Basque Franciscan, he had been at the Monastery of Aránzazu.
In June, in an article we link to below, the newspaper Deia brought you some of the details we’re including in the video we’re putting together in order to recall and reinforce that connection between Aránzuzu, and the Basques, with Our Lady of Guadalupe. This connection is really among the Basques throughout the Americas, but is especially strong along the Santiago de Chile–Lima–Mexico City axis, as they are joined by the guilds and brotherhoods that were founded under the patronage of Our Lady of Aránzazu.
Regardless of whether one is a believer or not, it is impossible not to value and recognize the key importance Our Lady of Aránzazu had in the organization of the Basque Community in the New World, as well as the Franciscan Order, which is in charge of the Sanctuary of Oñate, around whose churches and convents the Basques of the New World organized.
Deia – 24/7/2021 – Euskadi
La Virgen de Guadalupe se oye en Arantzazu
El santuario de Arantzazu ha sido escenario de una especial grabación con la música hallada en el manto de la Virgen de Guadalupe. Un regalo de la hermandad de Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu de Lima a la comunidad vasca de México