OverviewThe Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in French Gothic style, belongs to the Congregation of Redemptorist Missionaries, who arrived in Chile in 1876. Construction of this church commenced in 1904.
It was Brother Gerardo, a member of this Order, who was responsible for the work since he had already conducted similar works in Madrid, Rome and Paris.
The economic crisis and the First World War complicated the arrival of materials to finish the basilica, which led to postponing its inauguration until 1926, the year in which it was declared a Lesser Basilica by the Holy See.
The basilica was erected by the Congregation of Redemptorist Missionaries, founded by the Neapolitan priest Alfonso de Ligorio in 1732.
The Order arrived in Chile in 1876 and settled on the southwest side of the city, in a practically uninhabited area granted to them by the Ugarte family. The neighboring alleyway known as “Hermanos Ugarte” took on the name of “San Alfonso”, and those living in the vicinity became the first churchgoers.
Construction of the large church commenced in 1904 and was to last for 20 years. The plans for the basilica were made by Brother Gerardo, a leading architect who had joined the Order and had designed the churches of the congregation in Madrid, Rome and Paris. He also trained a group of 15 brother architects.
The stone used for the church footings, column plinths and steps, as well as the large blocks of monolithic stone that were carved in the church itself to become the high columns that embellish its interior, were brought from the San José de Maipo quarries.
The organ and stained-glass windows surrounding the altar were brought from France. The remaining ones were brought from Belgium, and so were the doors and the magnificent Main Altar made in marble and bronze, with an image of the Byzantine Lady of Perpetual Help in the center.
The economic crisis and the First World War led to works being delayed due to the difficulties involved in importing materials. The church was blessed as recently as in 1919, and the Main Altar was inaugurated only in 1926.
That same year, the paving of Avenida Blanco Encalada provided the setting needed for this imposing basilica capable of accommodating 3,000 people; this gave a new value to the emerging Club Hípico (horse race track) district.
Avenida Almirante Blanco Encalada, 2950, Santiago.