Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro, Braga

Located at the top of a hill 350 meters above Braga, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro draws pilgrims from around the world, especially during the significant pilgrimages in June and August. It is one of the most popular stops on the Marian Shrine Route in Portugal dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, often revered as “Nossa Senhora.” These religious sites, including prominent cathedrals in cities like Porto and Lisbon, celebrate Mary and host popular festivals, reflecting her central role in Portuguese spirituality. Only the Sanctuary of Fátima surpasses it in size.

History

The inception of the Sanctuary was spearheaded by Martinho Silva, a priest from the Archdiocese of Braga, in the mid-19th century. Construction on the domed church began on July 14, 1863 and adornments were added over several decades. The large religious complex now includes a main church, the Chapel of the Eucharist, the Casa das Estampas, a Rector’s House, a crypt, and an ornate set of stairs. Four statues honoring theologians famous for their writings about Mary await visitors near the entrance to the grounds: Anthony of Padua, Bernard of Clairvaux, Cyril of Alexandria, and Alphonsus Liguori.

Braga, Sameiro Sanctuary, Arian Zwegers, Flickr

Not only did the Marian statue receive the decree of canonical coronation by Pope Pius IX on December 22, 1976, but the Archbishop Giuseppe M’acchi, the Papal Nuncio, crowned one of the statues of Mary on June 12, 1904. Pope John Paul II famously visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro on May 15, 1982. The shrine later received the Golden Rose from Pope John Paul II in 2004, which recognizes services for the good of society or to the Catholic Church.

Architecture

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro is Neoclassical in style. Visitors can find a statue of Mary from 1880 sculpted in Rome by Eugénio Maccagnani. The 20th century brought more artworks to the sanctuary complex including a set of tiles by Querebim Lapa. A large panel by Oscar Casares was painted from 2005 to 2006. Visitors can also find four sculptures of Gabriel, Raphael, Michael, and the Angel of Portugal by Clara Menéres.

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro, Ward & Karen Walker, Flickr

How to Get There

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro is located on Avenida Nossa Senhora do Sameiro in Espinho, about 12 km from the center of Braga. It takes about 15 minutes by car or visitors can Bus #23.

Times

The Sanctuary is open to visitors throughout the year, with specific times for mass and other religious services. Entry to the site is free, but donations are welcome.

Summer – Monday through Saturday from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm and Sunday from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm

Winter – Monday through Saturday from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm and Sunday from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm

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