Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seeds of Catholic Faith Planted in Cuba

Owing to the Spanish colonization from 1492 to 1898, the seeds of the Roman Catholic faith were already planted and devotion to Our Lady centered on a local cult at El Cobre that began in the early part of the 17th century. This is the legend of Our Lady of Cobre as told by the black slave Juan Moreno to the parish priest at El Cobre.  He and two native boys named Juan had been sent out in a boat in the Bay of Nipe to get salt for the Barajagua slaughter house for the preservation meat.  A storm came up suddenly and their boat began to toss violently on waves.  

It happened that Juan Moreno was wearing a medal with the image of the Virgin Mary, and fearing for his life he began to pray for her protection.  Suddenly the storm ended and the sky cleared.  In the distance the three Juans saw a strange object floating toward them in the water.  The waves brought the object to the boat slowly and it turned out to be a small statue of the Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus on her left arm and a gold cross in her right hand.  An inscription attached to the statue said simply, “I am the Virgin of Charity."  

They were overjoyed to find that the skin of the Virgin was dark like a mulatto and she was dressed with real cloth and her hair was real hair.    Naturally they attributed their miraculous salvation to Our Lady and this statue was a gift from God to prove it.  They rowed ashore and brought the miraculous statue the overseer, Don Francisco Sánchez de Moya.