Cuba’s Patron Virgin Enthroned at the Vatican Gardens

Juan Rumin Domínguez* (Café Fuerte)

Virgen de la Caridad, installed at the Vatican Gardens this past Thursday
Virgen de la Caridad, installed at the Vatican Gardens this past Thursday

HAVANA TIMES — The Virgen de la Caridad (“Virgin of Charity”) whose replica was enthroned at the Vatican Gardens this past Thursday has a very special significance.

During a ceremony held in the morning of Thursday, an image of Cuba’s patron virgin was placed in an area close to the Jubilee Bell in the presence of 60 attendees, including 10 Cuban bishops. During the function, a prayer was recited and Cardinal Tascisio Bertone, former Secretary of the Vatican State, addressed those present.

The original piece, made of cast bronze and currently located at the Cobre sanctuary in Santiago de Cuba, has a highly significant history for the devout. In the 1950s, it was kept in a small chapel close to Cuba’s Nipe bay, on Los Morales beach, in memory of the location where the original effigy of the Virgen de la Caridad had been found in 1612.

In 1961, according to verified accounts, as a result of hatred towards faith and the efforts to tear religion from the hearts of Cubans made by the Marxist regime, this special place of worship was completely destroyed and the virgin it housed was thought to be lost. We know, however, that it did not vanish magically.

In 1975, a Lebanese-born resident of Cueto, a nearby town, exhumed it from the sand and, a devout man, respectfully took it home with him. The effigy was the object of popular worship in his home until the family decided to emigrate to the United States and the man passed the virgin on to Monsignor Hector Luis Peño. The Monsignor passed the effigy on to the Santiago de Cuba Archbishop, Monsignor Pedro Meurice, who placed it in the Casa de Encuentros of the Cobre Sanctuary.

During the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba, the beautiful effigy was kept in his private chapel.

A replica of this highly symbolic image was enthroned at the Vatican Gardens in the midst of the rekindling of faith in Cuba, reminding us of how the Communist government had tried in vain to bury and put out the faith of the people.
* Rector of Miami’s Caridad Shrine.

3 thoughts on “Cuba’s Patron Virgin Enthroned at the Vatican Gardens

  • I have lived in Cuba from 1961 to 1980, then until today in the United States, every system uses what they want to control and for propaganda. I was the only Catholic together with all Jehovahs Witness that was not part of UPC, never did wore a red handcar shift, left at age 19, running from service in military, lost my Grandfather, only 3 month after I was born, to Castro’s government, in El escambray a coffee grower farmer, two his son did time in prison, one still in the prison community of Guanes Pinar del Rio, my father lost his business, my mother hate the system for loosing her father so much, and my father losing his business, I grew up rebellious, listening to american music, very bad at the time, you would be considered politically deviated.
    Now with that said, I must tell of all of you hypocrites, that call your self christians, with more hate in your heart towards one man, are part of the people living a wonderful life out of Cuba, making 11 million cubans, including the rest of my family in the Island, suffer from this insane economic blockade, Cuba is going through reforms, creating more freedom for artist to express them self however they wish, homosexual can have their freedom of expression too, small business are opening everywhere, and citizen can now apply for a 5 year visa to travel to any country they want, religion can be practice, isn’t that wonderful?
    not enough for you haters? if you really call yourself christian,have some human compassion for the cubans there, respect them, the changes in cuba come from BRICS, the embargo has felt, never worked , never will.

    Get over it, move on….we bend over for the Chinese and make Russia rich, even richer any Arabs, as long as we get their oil, and human right? in American you can kill teenager (Michael Brown) by police, or by sick individuals like Zimmerman (Trayvon Martin) as long as they african americans is ok, no justice. and not everyone practice your catholicism ran by Child molesters perverses right at the Vatican,
    Democratic?, sure, as long is your democracy…Hypocrits begots

  • Good comment.

    The other reason Communists hate religion is that the narcissistic dictators resent the Devine competition for their omnipotent powers. But I guess that amounts to the same thing.

    As Dostoyevsky wrote, “Without God, anything is permissible.” He meant that as a dire warning against the dangers of atheism. Lenin took it as policy.

  • The communists hate religion because it diminishes the power of the government over the individual, that hate is deep inside their hearts , they know it but they hide it from you. The improvement we see in Cuba today is due to the external pressure of democratic forces, without this pressure the churches would be closed and the repression and discrimination towards religious people will be much unbearable.

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