(Vatican Radio) Affectionately known as "La Cachita", Cuba's beloved Virgin of Charity of El Cobre has been given a place of honour in the Vatican gardens.
In a ceremony presided over by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a replica of the image of the "Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre", the Patron Saint of Cuba, was located in the Vatican.
A delegation of Cuban bishops, who brought the statue as a gift to Pope Francis, was present for the ceremony.
In 1998, Pope John Paul II crowned the Virgin of the Caridad del Cobre during an apostolic journey to the Caribbean country.
The Virgin of Charity is closely linked to Cuban history and to the island's independence struggle, Her image accompanied freedom fighters against Spanish colonial rule.
The story goes that in 1862, two indigenous young men and a child of African descent were trying to get salt in the eastern bay of Nipe, where they came accross an image of the virgin floating on the sea.
On September 8, 1927, the Shrine of the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre was raised on the Maboa Mountain, in eastern Santiago de Cuba as one of the most venerated religious sites in Cuba, with some 500 visitors every day.
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