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Puerto Rico's Wooden Saints: Images of  
The Virgin Dolorosa

La Virgen Dolorosa
Pedro Arce, saint-carver
Circa 1910
 Toste-Mediavilla Collection


How is the Virgin Dolorosa observed?
The image of the Holy Mother dressed in a black cape is virtually a constant presence in those popular traditions that worship her, from the beginnings of the devotion up to the present day.  The image of a mother in mourning dress remains essentially tied to popular rites, particularly during Easter Week. On Resurrection Sunday de Mass of the Encounter is held on the Island. As soon as the Eucharist emerges, the Sacred Sacrament appear, accompanied by the men of the community. At the same time, the image of the Virgin Dolorosa appears, accompanied by the women. An encounter between the Mother and Child occurs in the town square after the performance of three salutations. Just before the last salutation, the Dolorosa's black cape is removed and she appears in white dress in order to continue beside her Son in the procession.

How does the Virgin Dolorosa appear in the tradition of Puerto Rican wooden saints?
The Virgin Dolorosa appears appears in the craft of saint-carving, as it does in religious rite as the Mother of Jesus dressed in a black mourning, with a black cape and her hands clasped in prayer.