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Our Lady of Valvanera

Legend has it that Nuño, a bandit who dedicated his life to robbing parishioners on the road, discovered the statue of Our Lady of Valvanera.

It seems that it all happened while Nuño was attempting to steal from a local farmer. As he was robbing him, he saw that the man was humble and didn’t have much, so he stopped, repenting for the way he earned his daily bread. From that moment on, Nuño began a life of prayer in a cave in the beech woods in the mountains. That is where the history of the Valvanera Monastery begins.


Legend Has It

Told thousands of times, passed down from generation to generation, the story says that the repentant bandit joined a priest in prayer. An angel appeared to both of them to reveal the existence of a statue of Our Lady of Valvanera hidden in a nearby tree.

Nuño and the priest located the statue in the hollow of oak tree, among honeycombs and next to a spring with crystalline water. There, in the place where they found the statue, they erected an altar to Our Lady of Valvanera, which over time led to a small chapel.

The Statue
The statue of Our Lady of Valvanera with the Holy Child is Romanesque, specifically a very primitive Romanesque style probably dating back to between the late 10th century and the 11th century. It also has Byzantine characteristics.

The statue shows the image of the seated Virgin Mary, holding Jesus’s legs in her right hand as He sits on Her lap, turning His head to the right. The Holy Child is holding a book and is giving a blessing with his right hand. The position of Jesus’s feet turned away from the body, make the statue quite particular.

On 15 October 1954, the canonical coronation of Our Lady of Valvanera was held and she was declared Patron Saint of the Dioceses. In 1965, Our Lady of Valvanera was named Patron Saint of La Rioja.


Of the people of La Rioja

The years have gone by and the Valvanera Monastery continues to be the spiritual heart of La Rioja. Devotion to Our Lady of Valvanera transcends time and place. Numerous towns hold annual pilgrimages wandering the path to the monastery. There are an endless number of cultural, spiritual and religious activities held here, and every 21 September, on Saint Matthew’s, the people of La Rioja offer Our Lady of Valvanera the first must of the year, after the traditional crushing of the grapes.


¡Oh, God, You who gave us the
oak, the honeycomb and the spring
as signs to find
the holy image of the
blessed Virgin Mary!,
May we
joyfully arrive to
You through her mediation

Valvanera Jota

Mary of Valvanera,
in the mountains I saw you one day.
People say the mountains are cold:
I say they are a blaze.
Mary of Valvanera,
keep our vines warm
and never forget me.
Not even after I die,
Mary of Valvanera

This is your home

Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Valvanera
Carretera LR-435 km 5 · 26322 Anguiano, La Rioja



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