According to legend, the Basilica of Caacupe stands on the spot where Indio Jose, a native Guarani, was saved by the Virgin Mary when she appeared and showed him a tree where he could evade hostile pursuers. That tree was carved into two statues in honor of her. The statue that remained in Caacupé is associated with the birth of Catholicism in Paraguay and a variety of miracles. Over the years, the church housing the statue had to be increased in size and grandeur to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims who flock here on December 8th. The modern basilica sees 1 million visitors on that holy day - 1/7th the country's entire population! Along with the legendary statue, pay attention to the stained glass windows which, along with scenes from the Bible, show important religious and political figures.
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