On this day, the island nation celebrates its patroness, Our Lady of Charity of Cobre.
Pope Francis noted at the end of the September 8 general audience that on this day, we celebrate the patroness of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity.
“With grateful recollection of my pilgrimage to her shrine, in September of 2015, I want to place again at the feet of the Virgin of Charity, the life, dreams, hopes, and sorrows of the people of Cuba,” the Holy Father said.
Devotion to Our Lady of Charity began in Cuba at the beginning of the 17th century, when the statue of Mary was found in the ocean, in the year 1612.
According to three witnesses — two indigenous men and an African-Cuban 10-year-old boy — the image was found suddenly floating in the water of the Bay of Nipe. A board fixed to the image read “I am the Virgin of Charity.” The image is some 33 inches tall.
The Pope continued with this prayer:
Wherever a Cuban person is today, may he or she experience the tenderness of Mary, and may She guide everyone to Christ the Savior.