La Virgen de la Candelaria is a small image found in the 1700s. In Copiapó, Chile, the Church or Sanctuary of the Virgin has been going in some form or another since 1800. Seen as the protector of miners, each February, work stops in the mines while local miners come down to give thanks to the Virgin for her protection and thousands gather from miles around to pay tribute in worship and through religious dance.
When the miners were found, the image of La Virgen de la Candelaria was stationed at Campamento Esperanza (or Camp Hope, as the temporary home of the families and loved ones of the miners was called as they waited the long months for their rescue) in the comedor (or dining area). The Thursday after each and every miner was rescued, a ceremony took place at the camp with the rescued men in attendance, and the Virgin was brought down to the cathedral for a special mass in thanks for her protection.
Following the mass, there was a procession that passed the hospital, where two of the miners were still under observation, and ultimately returned La Virgen de la Candelaria to her place in her church.
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