Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados
The Iconography
The name Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados means "Our Lady of the Forsaken" or "Our Lady of the Homeless." She was originally the patron saint of a 15th-century society dedicated to the care of the homeless and mentally ill in Valencia. Some time after 1493 the society commissioned the santo seen at left and housed it in a small chapel, which was replaced in 1652 by a substantial basilica.

Over the years Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados came to be the object of general veneration in Valencia, and she is now the official patron saint of the city, with a major festival on the second Sunday of May. In March participants in the "Fallas" celebration bring her flowers.

In the 17th century a Valencian family in Lima, Peru, organized a society for the forsaken and gave it a chapel with a painting of the Valencian santo. Later in the century the painting was replaced with a full-size replica. Numerous other cities and villages in Spanish America and the Philippines have special relationships to the Virgin under this name.

Prepared in 2017 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University

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A copy in Barcelona of the original Valencian santo (See the description page)

NAMES

  • Her title in Valencian is "Mare de Deu dels Desamparats."