Virgen Blanca – The Dedication of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Toledo, Spain and the White Virgin (Also known as the Smiling Madonna) (1085) – 25 October:
The Abbot Orsini wrote: “Dedication of Our Lady of Toledo, in Spain, about the year 1075, by Bernard, Archbishop of that City.”
The City of Toledo in Spain was not reconquered until 1085, when King Alfonso VI, King of Leon and Castile, took the City from the Moors. This was an important step in the Reconquista, as Toledo had once been the capital of Visigothic Spain. The City’s Cathedral had been desecrated and used as a mosque by the Moslem invaders of Spain but the people had the pleasure of seeing it blessed and consecrated in the year 1087. It was placed under the advocacy of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as King Alfonso wrote:
“I, Alfonso, Emperor of all Spain by God’s Providence, convened with the Bishops, namely, that for these ten will I preserve the papal honour of Saint Mary of the City of Toledo, which was formerly the See…”
In 1225 a new Cathedral was begun to replace the older one, for which King Fernando III drew up the plans and laid the cornerstone. Fernando’s good friend, the Archbishop Rodrigo Ximenez de Rada, worked very enthusiastically for the completion of the new Cathedral where he was Bishop.
There are so many masterpieces of art and beautiful Shrines in the City of Toledo, Spain, that a visitor may easily miss the White Virgin. She stands atop an Altar in the choir of Toledo’s magnificent Cathedral. It is said that you can live to be 100 years old, visit this wonderful Cathedral once a week for all of your life and still never finish discovering its glories!
The sacred image of Our Lady is a polychromed alabaster Statue of French origin from the twelfth century. Both Mother and Child are clothed in white, their garments bordered with jeweled gold. Their faces darkened by time, are framed with curly, strawberry-blond hair.
The Statue has also been called the “Smiling Virgin of Toledo;” for the Child’s right hand caresses His Mother’s face, tickling her chin. She responds with a smile that gives this image its popular name. It is also called the “Virgin of Prima” and the “Virgen Blanca.”
There is also another artifact worthy of special mention and that is the ten foot tall great Monstrance of Arfe. It is made of both silver and gold, inset with precious gems. It took nearly 8 years to construct and is done in a Gothic style that is truly a magnificent work of art.
St Alfons Arimany Ferrer
St Bernard of Calvo
St Canna verch Tewdr Marw
St Crispin & St Crispian – (†285 or 286) Martyrs, Twsin brothers Laymen.
St Cyrinus of Rome
Bl Edmund Daniel
St Fronto of Périgueux
St Fructus of Segovia
St Gaudentius of Brescia (Died 410) Bishop
St George of Périgueux
St Goeznoveus of Leon
Bl Henry of Segusio
St Hilary of Javols
St Hilary of Mende
St Hildemarca of Fecamp
St Januarius of Sassari
St Lucius of Rome
St Lupus of Bayeux
St Mark of Rome
St Maurus of Pécs OSB (c 1000-c 1075) Bishop, the first Hungarian Benedictine Monk and Abbot, Peace-maker, Writer and Hagiographer.
St Miniato of Florence
St Peter of Rome
St Protus of Sassari
St Recaredo Centelles Abad
Blessed Thaddeus McCarthy (c 1455–1492) “White Martyr of Munster” – Bishop
The Pain of Earthly Rejection but Beloved of the Lord:
St Theodosius of Rome
Martyrs of Constantinople:
Martyrs of Cruz Cubierta – 5 beati: A mother, Blessed María Teresa Ferragud Roig de Masiá and her four daughters, Blessed María Joaquina Masiá Ferragud, Blessed María Vicenta Masiá Ferragud, Blessed María Felicidad Masiá Ferragud and Blessed Josefa Ramona Masiá Ferragud, all nuns, who were Martyred in the Spanish Civil War, on 25 October 1936 in Cruz Cubierta, Alzira, Valencia, Spain.
They were Beatified on 11 March 2001 by St Pope John Paul II.
Forty Martyrs of England and Wales – 40 saints: Following the dispute between the Pope and King Henry VIII in the 16th century, faith questions in the British Isles became entangled with political questions, with both often being settled by torture and murder of loyal Catholics. In 1970, the Vatican selected 40 martyrs, men and women, lay and religious, to represent the full group of perhaps 300 known to have died for their faith and allegiance to the Church between 1535 and 1679. They each have their own day of memorial, but are remembered as a group on 25 October.
• Alban Roe • Alexander Briant • Ambrose Edward Barlow • Anne Line • Augustine Webster • Cuthbert Mayne • David Lewis • Edmund Arrowsmith • Edmund Campion • Edmund Gennings • Eustace White • Henry Morse • Henry Walpole • John Almond • John Boste • John Houghton • John Jones • John Kemble • John Lloyd • John Pain • John Plesington • John Rigby • John Roberts • John Southworth • John Stone • John Wall • Luke Kirby • Margaret Clitherow • Margaret Ward • Nicholas Owen • Philip Evans • Philip Howard • Polydore Plasden • Ralph Sherwin • Richard Gwyn • Richard Reynolds • Robert Lawrence • Robert Southwell • Secular Clergy • Swithun Wells • Thomas Garnet.
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Alfons Arimany Ferrer
• Blessed Recaredo Centelles Abad
4 thoughts on “Virgen Blanca – The Dedication of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Toledo, Spain and the White Virgin (1087) and Memorials of the Saints – 25 October”
Wow! Such a beautiful rendition of our blessed virgin and child! Of course she smiles as our Lord tickles her chin. The artist mist have been inspired by the Holy Spirit in creation of this Masterpiece!
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Absolutely Hughie! So often Our Blessed Mother is depicted as so sad – sad at the state of her fallen children and the world.
This, however, is a joy for us all, to behold.
Makes me smile just thinking of it. I wish the image was for sale.
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We could paint this one for you dearest! – What do you say?