By Stephen Ryan Author of best selling Marian thriller – The Madonna Files
“A Powerful book of adventure and faith” – FRANK SCHAEFFER – New York Times best selling author
Ernest Hemingway’s hero, Santiago, the fishing captain from his famous book, Old Man and the Sea, prays: Hail Mary, and the Our Father. These are the prayers Santiago recites ‘should I catch this fish’. In Hemingway’s novel, Santiago also promises to make a pilgrimage to the Virgin De Cobre (Our Lady of Charity from Cuba) if he catches the fish.
Depicted throughout the novel are Catholic relics of The Virgin De Cobre and the Scared Heart of Jesus. The relics are the only adornments in Santiago’s shack and were the possessions of his late wife.
Most folks are familiar with the religious and Catholic overtones of Old Man and the Sea, but few are aware of the connection to Santiago’s fictional promise to the Virgin De Cobre and Hemingways’ authentic gift to the Virgin Mary. It is likely Ernest Hemingway made the same promise to himself that Santiago made, “if he should catch this fish”. After winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954, (which he won for writing The Old Man and the Sea,) clearly the big fish – the prize he had pursued, he made his own pilgrimage to the shrine of Caridad del Cobre in Cuba and offered his Nobel prize award, a medallion, to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Interestingly this was not the first time Ernest Hemingway had the Virgin Mary on his mind. Years before giving up his Nobel Prize to the Virgin De Cobre, Hemingway had gone to the bullfights in Zaragoza, Spain. It was there that he witnessed the Pilar shrine.
Our Lady of the Pillar is the name given to the Blessed Virgin Mary for her claimed appearance in Spain. Her shrine that moved Hemingway is in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza, by the river Ebro. According to legend, in the early days of the Church, the Apostle James the Greater was evangelizing the Gospel in Caesaraugusta, but his mission was making little progress until miraculously, he saw Mary committing him to Jerusalem. In his vision, she was atop a column or pillar, which was being carried by angels. That pillar is believed to be the same one venerated in Zaragoza today. Miraculous healings have been reported at the scene. This is the only known apparition of Mary to have occurred before her Assumption.
After Hemingway’s time in Spain he returned to the States and bought a fishing boat. The boat which would eventually inspire him to write “Old Man in the Sea” was named Pilar. Hemingway’s beloved boat was named after the apparitions in Zaragoza.
Hemingway’s famous boat is now a popular tourist destination in Cuba.
Very interesting story of Our Lady of CharityfromWikipedia.
Our Lady of Charity(Spanish: “Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre” or simply “La Caridad Del Cobre”) is a 17th century Roman Catholic Cuban miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary. Intensely popular amongst the Cuban people, she has been proclaimed patroness of Cuba by the Catholic Church. A shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Charity is located in the mining town of El Cobre, outside Santiago de Cuba. In Santería, the goddess Ochún has been syncrenized with her. She is nicknamed “Cachita” by Cubans. Her feastday is on September 8.
The story behind the La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, happened around 1608 (sometime between 1604 and 1612 depending on the source). Two brothers, Rodrigo and Juan de Hoyos, and their slave, Juan Moreno, set out to the Bay of Nipe for salt. They are traditionally called the “three Juans”. They needed the salt for the preservation the meat at the Barajagua slaughter house, which supplied the workers and inhabitants of Santiago del Prado, now known as El Cobre. While out in the bay, a storm arose, rocking their tiny boat violently with restless waves. Juan, the slave, was wearing a medal with the image of the Virgin Mary. The three men began to pray for her protection. Suddenly, the skies cleared, and the storm was gone. In the distance, they saw a strange object floating in the water. They rowed towards it as the waves brought it towards them. At first they mistook it for a bird, but quickly saw that it was what seemed to be a statue a girl. At last they were able to determine that it was a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus on her right arm and holding a gold cross in her left hand. The statue was fastened to a board with an inscription saying “Yo Soy la Virgen de la Caridad” or “I am the Virgin of Charity.” The statue was dressed with real cloth and the Virgin had real hair and skin of a mixed woman. Much to their surprise, the statue remained completely dry while afloat in the water.
“Having camped in the French Key, which is in the middle of the Bay of Nipe, waiting for a good time to leave for the salt mines, being a morning of calm seas, they left the French Keys, before daybreak. The aforementioned Juan y Rodrigo de Hoyos and myself, embarked in a canoe, headed for the salt mines, and far from the French Key we saw something white above the foam of the water, which we couldn’t distinguish. As we got closer, birds and dry branches appeared. The aforementioned Indians said, ‘It looks like a girl.’ While they were discussing, they saw an image of Our Lady, the Holy Virgin, on top of a small wooden plank, holding the baby Jesus in her arms. On this small tablet, was written in large letters, which read , ‘I am the Virgin of Charity.’ Looking at her clothes, they realized that they were not wet. In seeing this, full of joy they each took only one third of salt and went to Barajagua.”