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October 12

Columbus Day or Indigenous People's Day

In the United States Indigenous People's Day was est. on October 12, 1992 (movable date)

Saint of the day:
Our Lady of the Pillar: Mother Mary’s First Apparition
El Día de la Hispanidad

Saint Wilfrid Bishop of York

October 12th, in addition to being Columbus Day, is also the feast day of Our Lady of the Pillar, patroness of all Hispanic peoples. While not one of the most widely known titles of Our Lady, it is the oldest, and has a most fascinating story that you will be delighted to read.

Tradition has it that the Blessed Virgin Mary, sometime before  her bodily Assumption into heaven, appeared to the Apostle St. James the Elder while he was living and preaching in Spain.

The Story of Our Lady of the Pillar

According to one account, Our Lady had previously promised St. James that she would come to his aid when he needed it the most. In fact, it was she who sent James into that region of the Roman Empire to tell the people of Hispania about her Son, Jesus. And then, in his most desolate hour, when he was considering leaving his mission field, she comes to his rescue.

The Mother of God told St. James not to worry, that the people to whom he preached would not only be converted, but they would one day have faith as strong as the pillar on which she stood.

She gave the pillar and the statue to St. James and asked that a church be built on the spot in her honor, using the two items for the altar.

“This place is to be my house, and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build… and the people of this land will honor greatly my Son Jesus.”

After asking for her church to be built, she gave another promise that,

“It will stand from that moment until the end of time in order that God may work miracles and wonders through my intercession for all those who place themselves under my patronage.”

St. James built a small chapel as Our Lady requested, by the Ebro river in Zaragoza, Spain, the first known Marian shrine in history. It became known as Our Lady of the Pillar, or Nuestra Senora del Pilar.  The chapel was replaced by larger churches over the centuries, the present stunning basilica being erected in the 17th century.

The statue and pillar have been preserved in the basilica just as they were given to St. James almost 2000 years ago. Amazing! The pillar is now covered in an embossed metal covering, but behind the altar a portion of the pillar is exposed for veneration. 

In the same vision Our Lady also recalled St. James to Jerusalem, where he met his martyrdom in 44 AD. His remains were taken by his followers back to Compostela, Spain, where a chapel was built in his honor. The chapel was later replaced by the famous Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination outside of Rome and the Holy Land.

Connection to Columbus Day

Christopher Columbus, the Italian Catholic explorer, sailed the Atlantic under the banner of the Catholic King and Queen of Spain on his three ships, the Nina (“Little Girl”), the Pinta (“Painted One”), and the Santa Maria (“Holy Mary”), which in hindsight can be seen as a foreshadowing of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Interestingly, the flagship of Christopher Columbus, the Santa Maria, had a full name of Santa Maria de la Inmaculada Concepcion (Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception). The U.S. bishops declared Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception as the patroness of America in 1846.

After going a long time without seeing land, Columbus promised his anxious crewman that if they did not have landfall in their sight by the October 12th feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, so dear to the Spanish people, they would turn course and sail back to Spain.

On October 12th they sighted land, and claimed the New World first for Jesus Christ, and next for the Spanish crown. Read The Catholic Venture of Christopher Columbus. Yes, America belongs to Our Lady!

Our Lady of the Pillar Fast Facts


  • Our Lay of the Pillar is the first known apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  • It is also the only known apparition of Our Lady prior to her Assumption into heaven.

  • The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragosa, Spain, is the first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

  • Our Lady of the Pillar is the patroness of Spain and all Hispanic People.

  • The first known apparition of Our Lady, and her first church, were entrusted to the Spanish people.

  • The church has remained in the same location after fires, wars, and disasters over the centuries. Three bombs were dropped on the basilica during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939; miraculously, none of them exploded.

  • A nine-day festival, Fiestas del Pilar, is celebrated in Zaragoza every year in her honor. It is a national holiday in Spain that coincides with the commemoration of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492, i.e. Columbus Day.

  • Christopher Columbus found and claimed the New World for Spain on October 12, 1492, the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar.






Prayer to Our Lady of the Pillar

O Virgin Mother of the Pillar,

deigning to appear to Thy beloved disciple,

Saint James, promising him the victory over paganism,

and blessing so abundantly his labors for the spread of

the True Catholic Faith,

secure for us also, who are the children of that same Faith,

the victory over our many foes and the paganism that is laying waste the harvest of souls in our day.

Through the intercession of Thine Apostle, Saint James,

the “Son of Thunder”, may we as clouds flying

through the air at the least breath of the Holy Ghost,

establish everywhere the true devotion to


Thy Immaculate Heart that Jesus

wills for the conversion of all sinners.






Zaragoza, Spain

Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar

According to ancient local tradition, soon after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Saint James was preaching the Gospel in Spain, but was disheartened because of the failure of his mission. Tradition holds that on 2 January 40 AD, while he was deep in prayer by the banks of the Ebro, the Mother of God appeared to him and gave a column of jasper and instructed him to build a church in her honor:

This place is to be my house, and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build.



El Día de la Hispanidad
On this day the Spanish world comes together to celebrate!

What to eat.....
Today to Honor Our Lady of the Pillar serve a 
Gâteau Basque (Custard Pie), Pomegranates, and a nice glass of Sherry.

Pomegranate and the Spanish city of Granada go hand in hand. In Spain granada means pomegranate!

 ¡Que aproveche! meaning 'Enjoy your meal!'


Gâteau Basque

A flaky crust surrounds a pastry cream in this traditional dessert from the Basque region.
The name means simply “Basque Cake.”
In the Basque language, the cake is called “Etxeko biskotxa” or “cake of the house.”


Makes 1 (9-inch) cake


  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons (374 grams) granulated sugar or
    (deepen the flavor with half plain sugar and half brown sugar, or even all brown sugar)

  • 3 large egg yolks (56 grams)

  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)

  • 1 egg for crust

  • 3¾ cups (469 grams) all-purpose flour (or do 2 to 1 ratio with AP flour & almond meal)

  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder

  • 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water

  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar

  • Optional for extra flavor add amaretti cookies and sour cherries.
    See the video 


Custard Filling


Makes about 2 cups


  • 2¼ cups (540 grams) whole milk

  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved

  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar

  • ½ cup (64 grams) cornstarch

  • 6 tablespoons (48 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 6 large egg yolks (112 grams)

  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)

  • Zest of one Lemon

  • 1 tablespoons of dark Rum

Directions for the custard:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and vanilla bean seeds over medium heat.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, flour, egg yolks, and eggs.
    Whisk hot milk mixture into sugar mixture. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook,
    whisking constantly, until bubbly and very thick, about 5 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat, and transfer to a large heat-proof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap,
    pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard. Let cool to room temperature before using, about 1 hour.


Directions the cake:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg yolks and 2 eggs (100 grams), one at a time, beating well after each addition.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Turn out dough, and shape into 2 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  3. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray with flour. (Use what you have ...a tart pan or even a cake pan but make sure you line the bottom with parchment paper!)

  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 disk of dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to prepared pan, pressing into bottom and up sides. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  5. Pour Custard Filling into prepared crust, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  6. Roll remaining dough into a 12-inch circle. Place over filling, crimp edges, and trim excess dough. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  7. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

  8. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water and remaining 1 egg (50 grams). Brush top of dough with egg wash.

  9. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C), and bake 25 minutes more, covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Just before serving, garnish with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

    Note don't double the crust/cake recipe. We ended up loving the thinner crust. This is an amazing recipe!


Columbus Day and his resting places?

It is said that Columbus' bones are resting either in Spain or in the Dominican Republic,

where ever the bones are resting both places are amazing places to visit.

Catedral de Sevilla, Seville, Spain

or Columbus Lighthouse, a monument located in the Dominican Republic, in tribute to Christopher Columbus.


Catedral de Sevilla, Seville, Spain

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Columbus Lighthouse is a monument located in Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic, in tribute to Christopher Columbus.

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