Miami’s Ermita de la Caridad de Cobre: 50 years as a unifying symbol of the Cuban exile community

The Ermita de la Caridad (Our Lady of Charity) del Cobre National Shrine was built 50 years ago by Cuban exiles in Miami to honor Cuba’s patron saint. Since then, the shrine has served as a place of prayer and inspiration for countless exiles. On December 2, it celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Via CubaNet (my translation):

Ermita de la Caridad del Cobre in Miami: A half century of life

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity in Miami reached its fiftieth anniversary on December 2nd.

In a mass presided over by the Archbishop of Miami, Monsignor Thomas Wenski, homage was paid to the Patroness of Cuba, honored by Cubans from both sides of the strait.

Wenski traced back to the origins of the shrine’s foundation on December 2, 1973. He recalled how it was erected “facing the Biscayne Bay where one could gaze upon the waters that so many Cubans crossed in search of freedom, waters that also bathe the shores of Cuba and Florida.”

The Ermita has been a symbol of identity for Cubans. “The Cuban people wherever they are, remain one people,” said Wenski.

As reported by Radio Martí, Monsignor referred to Cubans who have emigrated in recent years. “The only blockade driving the Cuban exodus is the one imposed on the national productive forces by the lack of economic, civil, and political freedoms,” he said.

The church built in honor of the Patroness of Cuba resembles the Virgin’s mantle. Inside, there are six columns supporting the structure, representing the six original Cuban provinces: Pinar del Río, La Habana, Matanzas, Las Villas, Camagüey, and Oriente.

A mural, created by the artist Teok Carrasco, depicts an outline of Cuban history centered around the Virgin of Charity and her son Jesus.

Its origins recall Christopher Columbus’s arrival at “the most beautiful land eyes have ever seen,” and it concludes with the maritime arrival of a Cuban family seeking freedom in the United States.

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