24 Oct 2021
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The Cult to the Virgin of Monte Print E-mail
There are several legends about Nossa Senhora do Monte, which survived generations since the beginning of the settlement to the present time.
There are no documents that indicate the exact date of the legendary and miraculous apparition of the Virgin to a humble young shepherdess on the site, itself legendary: Terreiro da Luta.
It is said that the legendary apparition could have happened between October 1477 and October 1945.
Virgin of Monte

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There are several versions about the legend of Nossa Senhora do Monte. What is certain is that, at the time of the Apparition the chapel to Nossa Senhora da Incarnação already existed, ordered by Adão Gonçalves Ferreira in 1470.
In October 1566, the fifth Hereditary Fief of Funchal, Simão Gonçalves da Câmara, was away in Lisbon when eleven ships with about one thousand and two hundred men, French corsairs of the Calvinist religion arrived to Madeira and invaded, plundered, ransacked and pillaged Madeira..
The Church Nossa Senhora do Monte also suffered the damaged carried out by that terrible piracy.
According to Gaspar Frutuoso in «Saudades da Terra» - “the French heretic in their destructive rage went to the church of Nª Senhora do Monte. One of them took the Image of the Virgin, undressed it and threw it down the stone stairs to break it. However, the stairs were broken to pieces and the image remained intact.
In a fury he threw the Image down the stairs for the third time, a stone splinter jumped and penetrated the heart of the heretic who died there instantly”.
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The ravine Ribeira das Cales, located half way to Poiso and at an altitude of 1980 meters is also part of the parish of Our Lady of Monte.
The water that ran in that ravine was used to irrigate the dry fields and in the households. This water was deviated in levadas (network of irrigation channels) and travelled long distances until it arrived to its final destination.
Goes the legend that unexpectedly and suddenly the water of that ravine and its spring just dried out one day.
The population of Monte got together and took the miraculous image of Senhora do Monte in a procession until the spring of the ravine where the water disappeared. There the miracle happened: the water came back again in great amount. The population opened a sort of channel: «cales» directing the water to the levadas, returning the vigour and freshness to the fields in the estates of Monte. From then on, it was called «Ribeira das Cales».




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