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Puerto Rico's Wooden Saints: Images of
The Virgin of Providence                            En español


Evaristo González


Amaury Lugo

 

¿How does the worship of the Virgin of Providence originate in Puerto Rico?
   
The Virgin of Providence has been named the Patron of Puerto Rico. The worship of Our Lady of the Divine Providence originated in Italy in the eighteenth century when de Bishop of Puerto Rico--the Catalonian Gil Esteve y Tomás--brought with him this devotion which he acquired during his years in seminary school. 
    Pope Paul VI declared Mother of the Divine Providence as the principal patron of the island of Puerto Rico by means of a decree signed in 1969.
   A common practice in Puerto Rico--and an ancient one--is to incrust a ceramic tile depicting the Virgin of Providence (like the one seen at left) over the entrance to one's home.

Representation of the Virgin of Providence in the Puerto Rican wooden saint tradition:
    Usually the carved image depicts the Virgin leaned over the child Jesus, sleeping placidly on her lap. The Virgin's hands are both clasped in prayer and at the same time holding the Divine Infant's hand.