The New Shrine and St. Josemaria
St. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei, was born in Barbastro (Huesca) on January 9, 1902. When he was 2 years old, he was taken by his parents to the Hermitage of Torreciudad as an act of thanksgiving for the healing of a serious illness that afflicted the little boy. In 1975, through the motivation and direction of Saint Josemaría Escrivá, the new shrine opened its doors. Hundreds of thousands of faithful pilgrims continue to visit, seeking the intercession of Blessed Virgin Mary under this millenary invocation.
In a letter of June 1967 he wrote: “I hope that the Lord will want to shower with spiritual graces, those who come before that small image of his Blessed Mother, so venerated for centuries. That is why I am interested in having many confessionals, so that people can be purified in the holy Sacrament of Penance and – with renewed souls – confirm or renew their Christian life, learn to sanctify and love work, bringing peace to their homes and the joy of Jesus Christ: peace I leave you, peace I give you”.
The New Shrine:
The new shrine and its annexes are the work of architect Heliodoro Dols. They stand out for the variety of shapes created with basic materials-brick and alabaster. They are a work of art that interprets in a creative way, the traditional construction elements used in Aragon.
Inside the church, in the foreground, is the altarpiece, fabricated in alabaster by the Catalan sculptor Joan Mayné. The altarpiece ensemble is inspired by the traditional altarpieces of the great churches and cathedrals of Aragon. The polychromatic scenes represent different moments in the life of the Virgin Mary. Directly below the central Tabernacle, in the central position, called the “niche”, one can see the original Romanesque carving of Our Lady of Torreciudad that used to be in the hermitage. On a pedestal to the left of the Altar Sanctuary area, there is an image of Saint Josemaría, sculpted in alabaster, also by Joan Mayné: Saint Josemaría appears kneeling in a prayerful attitude towards the Tabernacle in the altarpiece.
On the left side of the main church is the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, housing the Tabernacle and the “Christ on the Cross”, sculpted by the Italian artist Sciancalepore. The life-size statue is of gilded bronze. The artist presents us with a Living Christ, without the wound in His side from the Roman soldier’s spear.
Behind the altarpiece is the medallion, which was formerly fastened by a ribbon to the original carved statue of Our Lady of the Angels of Torreciudad. The image of the Virgin, worn out by the kisses of many pilgrims over the centuries, is now also displayed for the veneration of the faithful.
The interior of the shrine houses two organs. Their construction and harmonization was led by the master organ builder, Gabriel Blancafort, who equipped the organs with 4,072 pipes and 25 tubular bells. They bring solemnity to all liturgical ceremonies and enhance personal prayer. Every year, in the month of August, the International Organ Cycle brings together organists of international renown.
On the ground floor one can find confessional chapels dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto, the Virgin of the Pilar and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Also, there is the chapel of the Holy Family and the gallery of Marian devotions, which houses more than five hundred images of the Virgin Mary coming from different parts of the world, brought by pilgrim groups as a remembrance of their pilgrimage to Torreciudad.
The twenty Mysteries of the Rosary are represented in ceramics and are distributed around the shrine. They are the work of the Aragonese artist José Alzuet.
From the road that leads to the old small hermitage, there is an upwards path between the rocks and the olive trees, that has the 14 stations of the Way of the Cross. The path ends at the top of the shrine’s esplanade.
Going down from the main esplanade to the original hermitage, one can see the scenes of the sorrows and joys of Saint Joseph. These are fourteen moments in the life of the husband of Mary, made in tiles by Palmira Laguéns.
Book your visit
If you come with a group or you are a pilgrim, we advise you to book and organize your visit from here, so that you have the best possible time.