When the 110th anniversary of the arrival of the first image of María Auxiliadora to Alicante and the 65th anniversary of her canonical coronation, the image that presides over the temple on Calle San Juan Bosco shines with all its splendor after the restoration that It has been made of the crowns carried by the Virgin and Child and the scepter that Mary holds. The patron saint of Alicante is the Virgen del Remedio, but in times María Auxiliadora was more venerated by the people of Alicante and is the holder of the gold medal of the city.
The original image of María Auxiliadora arrived in Alicante on February 16, 1911, by the hand of the abbot of the then Collegiate Church of San Nicolás, Modesto Nájera, being enthroned in the communion chapel of the current Co-Cathedral, and was sculpted in Salesian workshops in Barcelona. Three years later, in 1914 it was transferred to a sanctuary on Calle San Juan Bosco, which was destroyed with all its heritage, including the Salesian schools in San José, during the burning of churches and convents in 1931. Two years later, Salesian students They bought the current image of María Auxiliadora, which came out of the same workshops as the original one, after paying 158 pesetas of the time, and went on to be exhibited in Santa María. The image also suffered significant damage in 1936 and was housed in two private homes throughout the Civil War. It was restored in 1940 and since 1949 it is the titular image of the current sanctuary parish of María Auxiliadora, between San Juan Bosco and Tucumán streets in Alicante, where it is enthroned presiding over the temple. A second restoration was carried out on the polychrome wood carving of just over two meters, which is now fifteen years old.
On May 24, 1956, 65 years ago, the canonical coronation of María Auxiliadora took place, at the hands of Monsignor Pablo Barrachina, and to commemorate this anniversary in the parish it was thought that it would be a good idea to restore the crowns of the venerated image, that with the passing of the years they already showed a rather deteriorated appearance. As explained by the parish priest, José Antonio Aguilera, “at first it was difficult for us to find someone willing to do the job, given its complexity.” Finally, the company in charge was Milleiro Joyeros. Ofelia Otero, head of the Alicante establishment, explains that “it is a delicate job.” «First, all the broken or deteriorated metal parts were repaired in the goldsmith’s workshop. Afterwards, the stones on which there were doubts about how they were going to respond to the bathing process were removed, and then the 18-karat gold baths began, ”explains Otero. Finally, the removed stones were replaced and those that had been lost over the years were replaced.
The result is obvious, the crowns and the scepter have been like new. José Antonio Aguilera, parish priest of María Auxiliadora since last September, is “delighted” with the result obtained. “They have been beautiful, what’s more, we are already thinking of undertaking the restoration of the aureole, which although it is better than the crowns were, now the contrast is going to be noticed”, acknowledges the parish priest.