Tuesday, October 14, 2008

La Negrita Statue in Basilica

My post the day before yesterday told the story of the peasant girl who found a small figure of a dark skinned Virgin Mary that twice mysteriously returned to the site of its discovery in 1635. The figure is preserved in a case that is high above the altar, surrounded by gold and jewels. The figure is visible in the center of this photo. I realize the quality of the image is not great, but I had to take this photo from a great distance using natural light, as the figure is very high above the altar.

This is the most important church and holy site in the Costa Rica. The church is named Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, or Our Lady of the Angels. The statue is called La Negrita. On August 2 each year, the anniversary of the discovery of the statue in 1635, La Negrita is paraded though the streets of Cartago. Thousands walk the 24 km. (15 miles) from San Jose to Cartago, some carrying crosses or walking part of the way on their knees, which is another similarity to the Basilica for the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, where people also make pilgrimages at times on their knees.

I don't know about you, but the impression that I receive is that the simplicity of the La Negrita statue is rather overshadowed by the ornateness of the gold and jewelry of the case in which La Negrita is displayed. The case does, however, certainly communicate that this is something important and cherished.

The gold rays that surround the area where La Negrita is encased are another parallel to the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico, which has rays that surround a much larger image of the Virgin.


Sharon said...

This photo is worth clicking on so you can see the detail of the frame for this relic. Very beautiful.

Kuanyin Moi said...

No doubt this is shrine is of the "Black Madonna". There are Black Madonna shrines all over the world.

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