"And if I have to pray..."
The gratitude of the faithful towards the mediation of the Virgin of El Rocío, in her most difficult moments, gives rise to the votive offerings, mainly pictorial representations of the indicated trance.
In the previous Ermita del Rocío, demolished in 1963 for the construction of the present Sanctuary, there was a space, known as the “Sala o Cuarto de Los Milagros” (Room of Miracles).which was accessed by “The Gateway to the Sun”.located approximately in the same place where the penitential chapel is today. This room took its name from the large number of votive offerings it exhibited, which constituted a way of leaving a memorial of gratitude to the Virgin for people who had been favored by some special grace in situations of danger, whether due to illness, accidents or other reasons. This collection, of anonymous authorship in its immense majority, is formed fundamentally by paintings of ingenuous execution, in small format, in which the moment of the event and invocation of the mediation of the Blessed Virgin is usually represented. This collection is the most genuine expression of the convictions and beliefs of the people that form the most important substratum of the devotion to the Virgen del Rocío. It is striking that in many cases, we see in it, the devotional antecedents of many towns and cities, whose brotherhoods have been constituted later.
“Selection of pictorial votive offerings of Our Lady of El Rocío. Popular expressions of faith”. Endowed with juicy and compelling narrative. They denote the miraculous power of the Virgin. XIX Century
On the occasion of the demolition of the old Hermitage this room disappeared, being delivered to the interested parties, in many cases descendants, of their relatives and destroying others that were in a bad state of preservation. EXVOTES destroyed others that were in a bad state of preservation. The collection currently consists of just over seventy-five pieces.
Among the most significant EXVOTOS in the collection is that of the bullfighter Rafael Gómez Ortega, “El Gallo”, whose motif took place in Algeciras, in June 1914, when a bull from the Moreno Santamaría ranch charged him in the chest and broke his sternum. The bullfighter, a devotee of the Blessed Virgin of El Rocío, to whom he entrusted this trance, miraculously saved his life and as a result gave the Virgin a painting in which he appears convalescing in bed and looking at a picture of her. On this picture there were some solid letters in gold that read: GRANT THE IMPOSSIBLE.