Marian devotion was introduced in Nicaragua in 1522 by the explorer Gil Gonzalez de Avila, who had a great love for the Virgin Mary and liked to promote that devotion. The natives experienced the power of her intercession when they were cured of their diseases for example. The 16th century missionaries taught them the prayer of the Rosary and the love of the Immaculate Conception. It was then usual for people to greet each by saying: "Hail, O very pure Virgin" and the other would respond, "conceived without sin."
In the 1980s, the Sandinista struggle turned against the Catholic Church. Pope Saint John Paul II's first visit in 1983 was met with strong opposition and protests. Nevertheless the country gradually moved towards peace.
The Virgin Mary allegedly appeared between May 8 and October 13, 1980 to a peasant of Cuapa, delivering a message of peace.
When the pope returned in 1996 to Managua on his second visit, he received a warm welcome.
The Immaculate Conception, whose devotion began in the town of El Viejo, in Chinandega (city in the west of the country), has been for many centuries the patron saint of Nicaragua and recently, on April 28, 2018, the Catholic Church of Nicaragua consecrated the entire nation to Our Lady!
This day was all the more joyful for Nicaragua as this happy event occurred at a crucial moment for peace in Nicaragua.