The title was established at Bilbao where an eighth – century statue of Our Lady was found in an oak tree. The image depicts the Blessed Mother seated in an armless chair with a modest crown holding the Child in the middle of her lap with a red rose in her right hand. Christ is giving a blessing with His right hand and holds an open book on His left. The Blessed Mother displays a very pleased expression. The title refers to the base of “the lower foot” (begoina) of Mount Artxanda, one of the two mountain ranges that borders Bilbao. Mementos left by soldiers tell us that Our Lady of Begoña succored sailors in distress, who, on their safe return, offer thanks for their preservation. Pius X declared her the patron saint of Biscay in 1903.
Tradition also tells us of an apparition of Our Lady to the townspeople of Bilbao on the present site of the Basilica of Our Lady of Begoña. Work on the basilica, a shrine to the Mother of God of Begoña, began in 1511 and continued for just over a century, incorporating Romanesque and Gothic styles. In the Neoclassical altarpiece behind the high altar is what is referred to as the Virgin´s Chamber. The basilica was heavily damaged in the Napoleonic and Carlist wars of the nineteenth century, in each instance requiring mayor repairs and rebuilding. Begoña (on occasion spelled Begoina) was an ancient city in Basque Country that was incorporated into Bilbao in 1925.
The title is also known as Virgin Begoña; Our Lady of Begoña; Madre de Dios de Begoña; and, popularly, as Amatxu (Basque, Mother). Her feast is celebrated on October 11.