#31DaysofMary : Our Lady of El Cobre

Nuestra Senora de la Caridad, which means, ‘Our Lady of Charity’, also known as Our Lady of Cobre

Statue housed in a basilica in Cobre, Cuba

click for source

Around 1600, three boys, Rodrigo, Juan de Hoyos, and Juan Morenowere, were out in a boat on the Bay of Nite, when a strong storm blew up and threatened their canoe. They camped out overnight at Cayo Francés and as they set out the next morning they discovered something floating towards them across the waves.

As it got closer they realized it was a statute of the Blessed Mother holding Jesus in her arms. An inscription on the bottom read “I am the Virgin of Charity”. Despite the previously stormy seas, the statue and it’s garments, were completely dry.

The three took the image back with them and upon retelling their story, it was decided by Don Francisco Sanchez de Moya, a local nobleman, to dedicate a chapel to Our Lady of Charity in Cobre. The town quickly became a pilgrimage site. A copper mining town, twice the statue disappeared from the locked church, only to miraculously reappear some time later, each time locating a new vein of copper ore that could be mined.

In 1916, Pope Benedict XV declared her the patroness of Cuba and despite years of Communism, she remains a popular devotion to Cubans, and anywhere Cubans have settled. Her shrine was made a basilica in 1977.

Cuban immigrants managed to smuggle a replica of Our Lady of Charity out of Cuba in 1961 and with it established a national shrine in Miami, Florida. One can also visit a chapel dedicated to Nuestra Senora de la Caridad at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

(posts sources 1, 2)

Prayer to Our Lady of Charity, Patroness of Cuba

Most Holy Mother of Charity
who came to us as a messenger of peace across the sea.
You are the Mother of all Cubans
To you we come, Most Holy Mother of God
to honor you with love as your children.
To your motherly heart
we entrust our desires and hopes
our work and our prayers.
We pray for our torn country
that we may be able to build
a nation based on peace and unity.
We pray for our families
that they may live in fidelity and love.

We pray for our children
that they may grow strong
in spirit and in body.

We pray for our young people
that their faith may increase,
as well as their attachment to
the truth.

We pray for the sick, the homeless,
the lonely, the exiled,
and for all suffering souls.
We pray for the Catholic Church in Cuba,
for its mission,
for its priests, deacons,
religious and laity.

We pray for the victory
of justice and love
in our country.

Mother of Charity!
We place ourselves
under your mantle of protection!
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus!
And to Him be the glory and the power
now and forever. Amen.

(prayer source)

Tomorrow, Our Lady of Akita!

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