"White dove of peace..."
It is known as Rocío Chico at Vow of Thanksgiving made by the people of Almonte in 1813.motivated by the great challenge to the invader experienced in the former house of the Ortiz de Abreu family, on El Cerro Street, in August 1810.on the occasion of the invasion of Spain by Napoleon’s French army, starting in 1808..
In fact, on August 17, 1810, a group of patriots assaulted the barracks that the French army had established in the town, killing Captain Pierre Douseau and five soldiers under his command. This fact, which was severely punished by the invading army, was the trigger for their purpose of “plundering, burning and beheading” their population. Almonte faced this with prayer, invoking the mediation of its Patron Saint, the Virgin of El Rocío. A plea that was heard, to the point that the eight hundred French infantrymen that had been sent from Seville to annihilate the population never reached the town.
"henceforth and forever and ever, they will spend the dawn of August 19 in El Rocío, celebrating Solemn Mass in the morning in the Hermitage, in thanksgiving for the singular favor of the salvation of the people".
Currently, the Hermandad Matriz preserves, as a relic, the wooden gate of that manor house that still remains standing, where the French barracks were located, being able to appreciate in it the shots of that gesture of insubordination. Since May 2022 it can be contemplated in the Museum – Treasury of the Matriz Brotherhood in El Rocío .
On the occasion of these events and when the French army was withdrawing definitively from Spain, the representatives of the people of Almonte, City Council, Clergy and the Matriz Brotherhood, wishing to express their recognition and gratitude, agreed, on August 16, 1813, to make a formal vow and express, on his behalf and on behalf of the generations to come, that “henceforth and for ever and ever, will spend the early morning of August 19 at El RocíoIn the morning, celebrating Solemn Mass in the Hermitage, in thanksgiving for the singular favor of the salvation of the people”.
This is the Vow of the Rocío Chico that, in proof of faith and gratitude for the favors received from its Patroness, on the occasion of those events, the people of Almonte continue to celebrate every year.
The worship services that are currently being held begin with a preparatory triduum, from August 16 to 18. On the night of the 18th, the prayer of the Holy Rosary is also celebrated through the streets of El Rocío and on the morning of the 19th, the Solemn Votive Function takes place, in which the Vow of Thanksgiving is renewed. At its conclusion, a Eucharistic Procession, with the Blessed Sacrament under canopy, around the Sanctuary, put the finishing touch to this local festival.
In 2020, the Hermandad Matriz made a historical documentary, entitled “Eterno Voto de Gracia” where it narrates, from the hand of different historians, the facts of Rocío Chico and reviews some of the anniversaries of this event.