Our Lady of Charity
Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre
The tale began in the early seventeenth century when three Cuban boys travelled across the Bay of Nipe to bring salt to a local slaughterhouse whose meat fed the copper miners near Santiago. During their journey to Santiago, a dangerous storm struck the Bay, causing the waves to become so rough that the boys were unlikely to survive the voyage. In an abrupt turn of events, the brutal currents subsided, and the boys were able to see a small white object floating towards them on a wooden raft. When the object reached the boys, they discovered that it was a statue of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus and a golden cross. The phrase “Yo soy la Virgin de la Caridad” was carved into the wood. As the legend holds, the statue and the raft were completely dry despite the severity of the storm.
When the boys returned to their home of Barajaguas, a chapel was built there to honor Our Lady of Charity. Later, an official sanctuary was constructed in the mining town of El Cobre, which remains a popular destination for pilgrims to this day. Nuestra Señora de la Caridad continues to serve as an icon of the Cuban people and their independence. ©2018