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10 things you should know about the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre

Virgin of Charity of Copper, patron saint of Cuba

The patron saint of Cuba, the Virgin of Charity of CopperShe is one of the most praised and respected saints by the Cuban people.

Next, we tell you 10 elements that every good devotee should know about the Virgin Cachita, as she is affectionately called on the island.

All about the Patron Saint of Cuba:

1. The legend of the Virgin

Legend has it that in 1613 two brothers descended from indigenous people, Juan and Rodrigo de Hoyos, and a nine or 10-year-old black boy, named Juan Moreno, were looking for salt in the eastern bay of Nipe and saw the image of Caridad del Cobre, floating at sea.

Those nicknamed as the three Juanes, rescued the image and transferred it to the town of Real de Minas, near the town of Santiago de Cuba.

There, the fact was considered a miracle and a good religious sign, so they housed the figure in a hermitage to protect it.

Since that time, there is no Cuban who does not know the patron saint of Cuba, the Virgin of Charity of Copper in the Catholic religion.

2. Syncretism

As part of the process of transculturation and the arrival of Africans to the island of Cuba, the saints of the Catholic religion and the deities of Africa were syncretized.

La Copper Charity Syncretizes in the Yoruba religion and Afro-Cuban culture with Oshún, queen of the world's fresh waters, streams, springs and rivers.

It is the Orisha who personifies love and fertility. A Yoruba goddess much loved and adored for her goodness and the help she offers to those who ask her from the heart.

3. Other representations of the Virgin

She is known as the Virgin Mambisa because the Cuban fighters were entrusted to her before each battle.

It is said that Carlos Manuel de Céspedes himself, Father of the Nation, bowed before her to pray after starting the War of Independence.

4. Different places for the worship of the Virgin of Charity

To the Virgin of the Copper Charity He is worshiped in the Sanctuary and in the church, but also in the home and in nature, for his syncretism with the Yoruba goddess of love and rivers

5. Sanctuary of La Caridad del Cobre in Santiago de Cuba

Hundreds of people, Cubans and foreigners, visit the Sanctuary of Caridad del Cobre, located at the top of Cerro de Maboa, 27 kilometers from the city of Santiago de Cuba and today a symbol of religion and identity of this Island.

The virgin that is kept inside these walls is made of gold and can be seen from all corners of the main nave. There, Cubans and visitors alike, pray and thank him.

The Sanctuary of Caridad del Cobre is a site that shelters many believers, houses hundreds of offerings dedicated to the Virgin, in gratitude for listening to the supplications.

There, under the protection of faith, a solitary piece of wood rests on the wall, witness to the beautiful legend of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre.

6. Prayers of all the people

The Cuban people adore her. There are many who entrust themselves to the Virgin every day and ask her for protection, health and prosperity for themselves, for their family and for all of Cuba.  

The prayers to the patron Virgin of Cuba are a sign of praise, faith and supplication in the most difficult days and also of gratitude for the blessings received.

7. How to honor Our Lady of Charity?

There are many ways to honor the virgin and the Orisha Oshún. For example, devotees keep pictures with his image and every day they offer him their gratitude and ask for his blessing.

Five sunflowers and a yellow candle are dedicated to the orisha Oshún in her honor.

To ask and pray that he improves our love life, we can take a spiritual bath by mixing in a tub or bucket, 5 tablespoons of honey, 5 of brown sugar, 5 pieces of cinnamon stick and 5 yellow flowers. Then we add warm water and pray to Charidad del Cobre for their blessings.

8. Oshún in the Letter of the Year

Oshun, syncretized with the Virgin of Charity of Copper, is the Orisha that governs and defends in this year 2020, according to the Letter of the Year of the Yoruba Cultural Association of Cuba, which has encouraged the faithful to worship both representations and ask for their protection.

9. Celebration of Charity

Every September 8, Cubans demonstrate their devotion to the patron saint of this island, for Cachita, for the Copper Charity, by the Orisha Oshún.

Many go to the Santiaguero Sanctuary, others come to the different temples scattered throughout Cuba in his honor and many pray to him at the altars of their houses.

Each one treats her in their own way, with flowers, candles, food offerings and shiny, golden and yellow objects, representing the color of the deities, the Virgin and the orisha. And so they pray to him for his well-being and ask for his eternal blessing.

10. Symbols of the Virgin

The yellow in the clothes and the sunflowers in the hand are symbols that identify the celebration of the Copper Charity, as well as the attributes of the Orisha Oshún.

And to the different representations of the Saint, the Cubans pay her devotion. Prayers to the Virgin of Charity of Copper they are destined for love, health and prosperity.

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