The Chapel of Our Lady of Amparo was blessed in 1785. With a neoclassical-style pediment, the façade displays a niche where the image of the patron saint, Our Lady of Amparo, is carved in granite. The pedestal bears the following inscription: “I am the Solace for Sinners. 1808”.
In the centre of the façade, there is a rectangular window which illuminates the interior. Two flower motifs are carved on the pilasters with a trilobe-shaped cross in the centre. The bell tower is located on the west side. The sacristy was built on the North side. The chapel underwent renovation works in 1808 and 1907 and again at the end of the 20th century.
Saturday and Sunday, 09h00-12h00.
Festivities: 1st Sunday of August.
Our Lady of Amparo
The Patron saint of the Chapel is Our Lady of Amparo. This invocation takes us back to the crucial moment, when Jesus handed over his Blessed Mother to his beloved disciple John, from the top of the cross where he was crucified: “Behold your Mother!” Mary has thenceforth become the Mother of humanity, the support and protection of all believers.
At the most tragic moment of Christ’s life, when he was crucified, John, Magdalene and the Virgin Mary were at his feet. Before all the helplessness of the world, where the Son of God is alone and condemned, is when this gift of love arises. Before being Pietà, who welcomes her dead son in her lap, she, the Mother of God, becomes the Mother and solace for all: “Our Lady of Amparo, our Mother, please help us!”.
The Legend of the Fountain of Our Lady and its Relationship with the Chapel of Our Lady of Amparo
According to Manuel Albino Penteado Neiva (Neiva, 2000), Our Lady of Amparo is associated with the legend of the Fountain of Our Lady and the healing power of water. The legend of the Fountain of the Lady has two versions.
One version tells that a farmer from Apúlia, João António de Sá, went to the Vila de Conde’s fair to sell a herd of oxen and there he bought a holy image of Our Lady from Maria Teresa de Aguiar. On his way home, tired of the journey and thirsty, looking at the image he was carrying, he lay down on the dunes to regain his strength. As he thirsted more and more, he earnestly asked the image to show him a spring where he could quench his thirst. In the meantime, he fell asleep, and when he awoke, to his astonishment, he saw crystal-clear water was sprouting at the Lady’s feet. When he came home, he ran to tell his mother, who was deaf, that she should cling to the Lady, for she performed many miracles. At dawn, the old lady heard the rooster crowing. As a token of gratitude, they had a little chapel built on the spot where the water sprouted, and placed a statue, which they named Our Lady of Amparo. According to tradition, on a day of great groundswell, the inhabitants of Criaz, as they passed to the catch of the Sargasso, took with them the image and erected a small niche for it. The next day, she had disappeared and returned to the original place.”
Another version, recounted by the residents of Criaz, states that it was João António de Sá himself who took the image to Criaz and that those from Areia stole it during the night and put it back in the first chapel. However, it was probably Our Lady who did not like this place and returned to the niche built in Criaz. The next verses are part of the songbook of Apúlia:
“A Senhora do Amparo
Fez um milagre capaz
Fugiu dos judeus d`Apúlia
E veio p´ros Santos de Criaz.”