The Caridad del Cobre Virgin is the most venerated image of Cuba. Its sanctuary is in “El Cobre”, near Santiago de Cuba province. Thousand of people visit it to pay promises, to take a small rock from the nearest copper mine (it is said to bring luck), or simply to meet this place full of popular legends.
This virgin is also worshiped in the syncretic Afro-Cuban Cults as Ochun, goddess of love and money, queen of the river waters and its special day is September 8th. On that date, people gives her all kinds of things and the celebrations are close related with her “sister” Yemaya, goddess of the sea, whose special day is September 7th.
Ochun is also known as mambisa virgin because the mambises were devotee to her during the independence wars of the XIX Century. They wrote to the Pope Benedicto XV in 1915 asking him to proclaim her “Landlady of Cuba”. Some years later, Pope Pio XI authorized the canonical coronation of the sacred image. On December 20th, 1936 the Santiago de Cuba Monseigneur Valentin Zubizarreta crowned the virgin.
In her sanctuary, a mass is offered every morning since 1927. It has a solid silver altar and other valuable ornaments. Under the virgin’s site, there is the miracle chapel, a little room where the believers put different offerings, from gold jewels, crutches, etc, to the gold medal awarded by the North American writer Ernest Hemingway, with the Nobel Price.