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La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre

U.S. Catholic, Sep2011, Vol. 76 Issue 9, p55-56, 2p, 1 Illustration found on p55




La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, also know as Our lady of charity, has been named the patron saint of Cuba, and for good reason. In 1632, three men from Barajuana set out on the Bay of Nipe in El Cobre, to gather salt needed to preserve the meat in the town's slaughter house. Two of the men were brothers, Rodrigo and Juan de Hoyos and the third was an African slave boy named Juan Moreno.


After collecting the salt, the men were sailing back to El Cobre in the middle of the bay when a fierce storm hit, violently rocking their small boat. Juan, who was wearing a medallion with the image of the Virgin Mary, began to pray to her for protection and the two brothers quickly joined in. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, the skies cleared and the waves calmed. The storm had completely stopped and in the distance the men could see what looked like a wooden board floating on the water with a sea bird resting on top.


As they paddled closer they realize that it wasn’t a sea bird at all, but a small statue of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus in her left arm and a gold cross in her right.  Inscribed on the wooden board were the words “Yo la Virgen de la Caridad” or “I am the Virgin of Charity”. To their surprise, neither the board or statue appeared wet. The men recovered the board and statue and brought it back to their town of Barajuana, where government officials built a small church where she was kept.


On multiple occasions the statue would disappear only to show up again in its original spot the next day, which mesmerized locals, as the church had been completely locked up. They took these disappearances as a sign and eventually moved her back to the spot of her discovery in el Cobre where she was welcomed at the local church with open arms.


The disappearances continued in el Cobre until one day instead of turning up back at the church, she was discovered on a mountain side by a little girl who had been playing in the fields. A new church was then created in this spot and is where the statue remains to this day.

Liguori. Mary Throughout Latin America. MO: Liguori Publications, 2005.

Researched by Mary T. Landry

Popular Devotions

Our lady of Charity Church: El Cobre, Cuba


Our Lady of Charity, we joyfully venerate you as patroness of Cuba. 

May we boldly take your name and message to the world, 

so that the gospel will be announced to all men and women. 


Hail Mary

Dios te salve, María. Llena eres de gracia: El Señor es contigo. 
Bendita tú eres entre todas las mujeres. 
Y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre: Jesús. 
Santa María, Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros pecadores, 
ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte.


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