At the beginning of the XVII century a beautiful image of the Mother of Christ appeared floating on the waters of the Bay of Nipe, Cuba, after a storm. The image was on a small board on which was written: I AM THE VIRGIN OF CHARITY. Three farmers who had been looking for salt, picked it up and took it to a small town called Barajagua. Some years later the image was taken to the parish church of El Cobre, from where the image would disappear. A local girl called Apolonia kept saying that she had seen it on the slope of the hill of El Cobre. After praying for guidance, the town people saw like a glare on the place indicated by Apolonia, where they built a small hermitage and placed the image there. It was at this site that the National Shrine was eventually built and many people go there constantly to pray and ask Her protection in times of danger and need.
The venerated image of the Virgin came to this city of Miami in 1961, accompanying her children amid the pain of exile. Within a few years, when many still did not even own their own homes, as Bishop Román used to recall, they erected a chapel which is a place of welcome for all, a center of encounter with God through His Mother. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the chapel becoming a National Shrine. Due to the pandemic, this year’s Mass will be held at St. Michael’s Church and will be by invitation only, while Our Lady’s image will be placed in front of the church until 6:45 pm so that the faithful may pass by and greet her. Let us pray to our Mother, Health of the Sick, for all our many needs.