Although our country celebrates Columbus Day today, Monday October 10, so as to give workers a long weekend, everyone knows that the real holiday is October 12. This is the day, in 1492, when Christopher Columbus first sited land after a seventy-two day voyage westward across the Atlantic. The day before that he had promised his crew that if they did not see land by the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar (October 12) he and his three ships would turn back to Spain. How providential it was that returning to Spain after his first voyage he made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe monastery and shrine in Extremadura. This was only thirty-eight years before Our Lady came to Mexico under that same title. And there is much more about Our Lady of Guadalupe’s interventions in Church history, such as her image waving from the deck of Don Juan of Austria’s ship during the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. A must -read article titled, The Catholic Venture of Christopher Columbus, can be found on our website here.
The following article by Ben Broussard gives us the real Christopher Columbus, Columbus the devout Catholic. This great and courageous man believed most firmly that God had called him to bring the Faith and the gospel of salvation to the Indies. As you will see from this excellent article, Christopher Columbus believed, as every good Catholic used to believe, that there is no salvation outside the Church. Read on and you will see.
Return to Order, Ben Broussard: As the sun set, the Salve Regina hymn rang out across the Atlantic. Ninety men stood on the decks of three boats, led in prayer by Christopher Columbus, the foreign captain they had come to trust. They had kept the same ritual of evening prayers since they left Spain months ago, but tonight was different. Tomorrow would be the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, Spain’s great patroness. Columbus had promised his men that had they not spotted land by her feast day, he would order the ships to turn back, a promise he intended to keep. He knew Our Lady would not abandon the enterprise he had worked so hard to bring about. The signs that they were near land were increasing by the day. Read the full article here.