The statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that was on board the royal galley commanded by Don John of Austria, half brother of King Philip II of Spain, during the Battle of Lepanto, has been discovered.
Our Lady of the Rosary was offered to Don John of Austria by the Venetians. Back in Spain after this feat of arms witnessed by the statue of the Mother of God, it was donated by Don John of Austria upon his death in 1578 to the Brotherhood of the Galleys in the church of St. John Lateran Port of Santa María in Cádiz.
In 1854 the statue was transferred to the Marine Guards Academy of San Fernando, precursor of the Spanish Naval Academy. It was then passed from hand to hand until it was lost. But recently it was delivered back to the Naval Museum of Madrid, where the statue will be restored and then exposed to the public. Although the statue has lost one eye, it retains all its supernatural presence.
Battle of Lepanto Painted by Tony Stafki http://tonystafki.imagekind.com/
While Pope Pius V prayed in Rome for the victory of the Christians, the flagship of the fleet fought against the Turkish galley of the commander of Ottoman forces, Ali Pasha, who was beheaded soon after. The victory of the Holy League stopped Muslim incursions deeper into Europe, although their attacks to the coast to capture slaves continued. This victory is celebrated annually on the feast of Our Lady of Rosary.