In 1930, when violence was widespread all over the North Santanderean territory, the Camaron family found refuge on the shore of the river El Almendro, on the way to the municipality of Arboledas. While they were looking for a large stone to use as a washboard, Isaac, one of the sons of Don Pastor, found a flat stone with a stain in the shape of a woman. After cleaning it, one could clearly see the siluette of a lady who was wearing a belt and a blue cape and was accompanied by two angels, who were gleaming at the feet of the celestial and enigmatic figure.
With great curiosity they brought the stone home, and after the whole family examined it carefully, they concluded that such perfection could not be fruit of their imagination but it had to be a divine revelation; the shape was the mother of our Creator, identical to the image so familiar to them. Therefore they decided to leave the stone in the small family altar so they could adore her and light candles for her, because they had recognized in the stone the image of the Virgin to whom they had professed love and devotion since childhood. The neighbors visited the altar frequently to pray the rosary and bring flowers and candles to the Virgin.
Don Pastor realizing that his humble dwelling was becoming a center of devotion and believing that the Mother of God was the protector of the humbles and the sinners, never left his house and could not comprehend why the Virgin had revealed herself to a simple peasant in a field by the river rather than showing herself to a king in a castle. Therefore, he decided to inform the ecclesiastic and civic authorities of Arboledas about the image; these, however, found the claim absurd and did not even try to verify the truth of the man’s statements, on the contrary they accused him of idolatry and considered him crazy.
For six years the Camaron family and their neighbors kept adoring the image until in 1936 they decided to change residency and moved to the Rampachito Farm in the village of La Carrera in the jurisdiction of Cáchira’. Since this region was more populated and the people in Cáchira’ professed an immense faith in the mother of our Savior, in a short time the image became popular all over the town and aroused the curiosity of the faithful and of the authorities of Cáchira’. These lead by the priest, Manuel Duarte, arrived in mass to Rampachito, where the priest himself, without any doubt and full of devotion asked for the blessing of the Camaron family and thanked God for such a wonderful gift. The gratitude of the shepherd and his family for the recognition that the Cachirense community offered to his image was so great, that they accepted with enthusiasm the priest’s offer to donate the stone to the church.
In Cáchira the faith and devotion towards the image increased, she was given the name of “Virgen de la Lajita” (Virgin of the Stone) and people started spreading the news of the favors received thanks to their faith.
When the people in Arboledas learned about this success, knowing the origin of the image, they tried to claim it as a property of their region, but they were not successful, because just a few years earlier they had rejected her and ignored her powers. However, they convinced the Camaron family, to whom they offered a big sum of money, to collaborate in the theft of the stone since they considered themselves the image’s owners. One day the stone disappeared from the temple and a woman who was professing her faith began to give the alarm from home to home. After thirty minutes a group formed by more than half of the inhabitants of the town led by the civic authorities, the national police and the new priest, father Crescenciano Jaimes, started looking for the thieves. The people’s cooperation was very useful and when they arrived at the village of La Carrera they found the young thieves, who upon being discovered hid the image in a pile of hay, fooling for a moment the group of searchers. These, however, did not give up their search and noticing the thieves’ nervous behavior and some footprints in the hay, found the image and gave it back to the village of Galvanes, where it was welcomed with bells, fireworks and music. Following these events, the faith and devotion towards the Holy Virgin increased. Nowadays throngs of faithful arrive from everywhere in Colombia and Venezuela to give thanks for all the favors attributed to such a miraculous image and to ask for favors and miracles.
With help from Germany, a new church dedicated to the Virgin of the Stone has been completed in the parish of Saint Peter and Paul of the La Carrera village. Here the miraculous image appears in a painting by Hernando Delgado, which was consecrated by Monsignor Mario Rebollo Bravo, archbishop of Pamplona. In the town of Pacho Cundinamarca, the famous son of Cáchira, Benigno Velandia, full of faith for the Virgin of the Stone, built a chapel in her honor which soon will house a portrait of the Virgin from the cachirian artist Jesús Maria Stapper.
There are numerous testimonials from people who adore the immaculate image for the favors they received. In my case, I profess my faith and give testimonial of a fact which took place while I was travelling with my brother Wilfredo and other friends, including Harley Rivera and Jaime Quezada with their respective wives, from Bogota to Ortega in Tolima. Passing Mondoñedo towards La Mesa, the car, which was travelling at high speed, lost balance and started rolling like a top until it got out of the side of the road and started falling down for more than 200 meters, when in faith and terror we yelled:”Virgin of the Stone save us!” and the car stopped immediately almost like a magical act just before the fall in the cliff.
In the same way during a surgical operation in which I was the patient, there was a misunderstanding and while I was considered clinically dead, somehow I pleaded to the Virgin of the Stone and I went back to life. Since that moment, as hundreds of other faithful who have received miracles from the Virgin, I profess a great faith for the Virgin of the Stone, without falling into idolatry I always carry with me in my wallet a Picture of the Virgin to remind me how miraculous she is.