Q: Tell me about the Virgin of the Dew...in Spanish they call her Salve Rociera Maria.

[Image of Huelva] A: The consecrated term in Spanish is NS del Rocio. This advocation is practically unknown in the northern hemisphere, the English-speaking world in particular. Although the name rocino in English means "dew," "drizzle," "spray," "shower," "mizzle" - this is not the original etymological meaning of this Marian title.

Rocio is derived from rocino (hack, jade) and represents a word corruption based on the Andalusian pronunciation of the word rocino, and, at the same time, is the result of a poetic reinterpretation of its original meaning. In fact, there is only one sanctuary that bears this name. It is situated in Almonte (Huelva), at the southern tip of Andalusia, Spain. The sanctuary is the most important in Andalusia, and its fame has spread throughout Spain. Copies of the picture have traveled with emigrants from Andalusia to various regions of the New World.

The Virgin Mary of Rocio
Almonte (Huelva)
Andalusia, Spain

The meaning of this advocation, (rocino becoming rocio), highlights Mary's role as mediator. The comparison with the dew is a very old one. Germanus of Constantinople (+733) used it already, and called Mary "the dew of my arid soul," in other words the mediator of God's grace coming into the human heart. Saint John of Avila uses the same allegory to describe the incarnation: ".. asi en Marìa llovio y cayo aquel bienaventurado rocio, el qual con su gracia humedece nuestras sequedades y hace fructificar nuestras almas" (Obras completas, 1953, 951-957). During the so-called romerias (pilgrimages with picnic) the following popular refrain is sung in honor of the Virgen del Rocio in Almonte, Huelva: "Virgen del Rocio -- rociadora, rocia tu mi alma -- que es pecadora."


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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Elizabeth Milkos , was last modified Tuesday, 10/26/2010 10:49:19 EDT by Ramya Jairam . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.