Our Lady of Torreciudad
Torreciudad is a shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Aragon in the north of Spain. Devotion to Our Lady of Torreciudad dates back to the eleventh century. The new Shrine, built under the guidance of the founder of Opus Dei, Saint Josemaría Escriva, was inaugurated on 7 July 1975.
He said that what he hoped for from the shrine were "spiritual fruits: graces that the Lord will wish to grant to all who come to honour his Blessed Mother at her shrine. These are the miracles I desire: conversions, and peace for many souls." With this in mind, he asked for confessional chapels to be built and for everything be done to enable people to pray at the Shrine in peace.
The artistic heritage of Aragon
Many people helped in the building of the new Shrine, and they continue to help today towards its maintenance, which also depends on the generosity of those who visit it. At the same time, a number of official bodies and private organisations cooperate in funding its activities. They know that Torreciudad contributes to the social welfare of the local district and to the region of Aragon as a whole.
The principal architect of the new Shrine is Heliodoro Dols. From 1970 to 1975 he supervised the building works, with the assistance of the architects Santiago Sols and Ramon Mondejar.
The new shrine of Torreciudad is a unique architectural monument. Among the outstanding features of the main church are the alabaster altarpiece, the work of Juan Mayné, and the Blessed Sacrament chapel, with its bronze figure of the crucified Christ, by Pasquale Sciancalepore.
In the crypt there is a chapel dedicated to the Holy Family, as well as three confessional chapels. These chapels are dedicated respectively to Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of the Pilar and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Along three covered archways on the esplanade, the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the Rosary are represented.
These ceramic works are by José Alzuet. He also did of the Stations of the Cross, which follow a way between rocks and centuries old olive trees.
The medieval shrine housed the original statue of Our Lady of Torreciudad before it was transferred to the new church. People from the surrounding towns and villages have a great devotion to Our Lady of Torreciudad, as do many pilgrims who come to this corner of northern Aragon. Spiritual activities at the Shrine are entrusted to the Opus Dei Prelature.
In the great altarpiece, set in a niche above the choir stalls, is the original Romanesque carved statue of Our Lady of Torreciudad, Queen of the Angels. Around the statue there are eight sculptured groups representing some of the main events in Our Lady´s life: her Betrothal to St. Joseph, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Adoration of the Shepherds, the Flight into Egypt, the Workshop at Nazareth, the Crucifixion of Our Lord, and the Coronation of Our Lady in Heaven. This altarpiece is the work of the sculptor Juan Mayné. It was carved in alabaster in José Miret´s workshop. The polychrome artist was Emilio Juliá.
The crypt of the confessionals
This is located below the Shrine and entered by the last of the porticoes of the gallery on the north side. A curved ramp leads directly into the Crypt from the church door. There are three chapels in the Crypt, dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of the Pilar, and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The regular times for Confessions can be seen on the notice-board on the way in. Priest are also available to hear Confessions outside these set times, whenever the church is open.
Following an old Aragonese custom the tabernacle is seen through a window in the upper part of the altarpiece, below the scene of the Coronation of Our Lady.
At the left hand side of the nave, in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, an image of Christ , cast in bronce, is the work of the Italian sculptor Pasquale Sciancalepore.