Oliveira's Saint, by Maria Fernanda Braga (height 14cm)

Guimarćes was born under the sign and protection of Virgin Mary. In the tenth century, the countess Mumadona Dias erects, in Guimarćes city, a monastery to invoke our Saviour and Saint Mary.

As centuries go by, the Marian worship becomes even more rooted in the religiousness of the people of Guimarćes and in the religiousness of the Nation as well. It is Virgin Mary that King Joćo I invokes, in 1385, to protect him and give him the victory over the Castilians. Once he has won the battle, and after having the nation released from the invaders, the king goes to Guimarćes on a pilgrimage to thank the Virgin for the magnificence of his victory in Aljubarrota and to offer her presents that are worthy a king and a Virgin.

Saint Mary continues to make miracles and people continue to be devoted to her. Later on, this saint changes her name and starts being called Oliveira’s Saint. By this time, she is ornamented with dresses that her devoted believers offer her.

Our kings continue choosing Oliveira’s Saint as their interlocutor in divine issues. It is King Joćo V, who had become rich with the gold from Brazil and suddenly had a stroke that paralysed all his left members, who offers her the most beautiful dress she has. From that moment on till nowadays, this Saint has, among many, a rich and bright dress made of lame (a tissue made of silk and golden silver) magnificently embroidered with gold.

People continue seeing the Saint as the interlocutor of their faith. It is normal to have the image of this saint inside many houses. It is always represented on her foot, above the head of a solitary angel, in a hieratic way and with her hands placed in a prayer position.

The image in clay that we present you is a faithful and contemporary reproduction of this miraculous saint, whose worship continues rooted not only in the religiousness of the people from Guimarćes, but also in the religiousness of the Portuguese people placed all over the world.