José Gregorio Hernández (1864-1919) was a Venezuelan doctor who was called “doctor of the poor” because he rushed to help at the first call and never asked any questions to know if his services would be paid or not.
He was born in Isnotú, a town lost at the foothills of the Venezuelan Andes in the state of Trujillo, Venezuela. His birthplace was declared by the Venezuelan authorities a "Spiritual Place". Thousands of people go there to visit the Sanctuary, built in his honour just to thank him for his miraculous healings and support.
The streets that lead to the Sanctuary are filled with shops, which sell everything that is connected with him.
In this small temple stained-glass windows with the image of Jose Gregorio attract the attention of vistors .
Most of all the Sanctuary strikes by an enormous number of placards, on which people express their gratitude to the doctor for his assistance .
On the occasion of his 150th anniversary, on October 26, 2014, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Venezuela called on all Catholics to attend Mass and thank God "for the life and example of this great Venezuelan and implore his speedy beatification" . Around one hundred and fifty thousand people are expected to attend.
I visited Isnotú in 2008 when I drove from Caracas to the Venezuelan Andes passing by Trujillo.
In Tujillo I also saw the monument to the Virgin of Peace, a very tall structure built in 1983 (bicentenary of the birth of Simón Bolívar). It is the tallest statue to the Virgin in the world (taller than the statue of Liberty in New York or the statue of Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro).
This monument is also an extraordinary viewpoint.
The city of Trujillo seen from the monument