The official account of the Aparecida apparition took place in October 1717, when Dom Pedro de Almeida, Count of Assumar and Governor of the Province of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, was passing through the area of Guarantinqueta, a small city in the Paraiba river valley, during a trip to Vila Rica , an important gold mining site.
The people of Guaratinguetá decided to hold a feast in his honor, and though it was not fishing season, the fishermen went down to the Paraíba waters in order to fish for the feast Three of the fishermen, Domingos Garcia, João Alves, and Filipe Pedroso, prayed to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and asked God's help.They were unable to catch any fish, and after several hours in the river, they were ready to give up when João casted his net once more near the Port of Itaguaçu.Instead of fish, he hauled in the body of a statue with a missing head. They casted their net again, and brought up the statue's head. After cleaning the statue, they found that it was a black version of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.[Legend has it that when the fishermen recovered the body, then the head, the slender figure of the Aparecida Virgin became so heavy that they couldn't budge it.
After that, according to the official account, they named their find Nossa Senhora da Aparecida Conceição (English: Our Lady of the Appeared Conception), wrapped it in cloth and continued to fish; now their catch was so great that they returned to port because the weight of the fish threatened to sink their craft.This was the first miracle attributed to Our Lady of Aparecida.*
Monday, April 19, 2010