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Faith Becomes Hearts, Hands and Legs for ‘La Negrita’

In the Basilica de los Angeles in Cartago, faith is embodied almost every day. Neighbors from all over the country attend visit to La Negrita, patron saint of Costa Rica, to ask for personal favors, academic and professional or simply to give thanks.  Most times the parishioners are not alone and some even have a present that can be tiny (the size of a pendant) or larger (as a trophy won in competitions).

la negrita costa ricaThese objects are called ex-votos and, although they have many years of existence, are now more relevant than ever.

There are thousands of them. The organs as feet, hands, hearts, kidneys and metal eyes.

They look in the windows of the cave called the find, which states that the Virgin was found in Los Angeles by Joan Pereira. Each one tells a story.

There is, for example, the crown of the model Marisol Soto, who was Miss World in 1992, and the harpoon used for fishing an American couple who, after a wreck in June 1989, he was adrift for 66 days and heard an old radio on The Bold and then “promised to convert to Catholicism if saved,” says William Butler.

He and his wife, Simonne Butler, wrote the book Shipwreck , where he narrated the episode.

Among the votive offerings are also two small stones carried there on 18 this month by Warner mountaineer Rojas. He thanked the patron saint of Costa Rica have returned unscathed from his quest to conquer the summit of Mount Everest, the roof of the world.

“There are some two million votive offerings have been received since 1635, the year of discovery of the Virgin,” said the chancellor of the diocese of Carthage and current pastor of the Basilica of Los Angeles, Francisco Arias.

“Since we can not have everyone in sight, put for a while and then stored in an enclosure. But if believers have left something in writing, save it now as a digital file, “he said.

Where do you get the votive offerings of the faithful? The store manager of the basilica, Elijah Calvo, shows there great variety of them, and all costs. The facts in silver worth about ¢ 3,500, while those made of brass or other material cost only ¢ 150. All year there are faithful who buy them but, as expected, in August, a time of pilgrimage, it triggers the sale.

Most sold in Carthage were made in the National Trophy Factory josefina, but there is no monopoly of manufacture. In fact, many jewelry or costume jewelry also offer the service to the devotees.

To deliver the votive can be placed in the mailboxes inside the basilica or give it to the priest or the sacristan.

They did this week and Mrs Ronald and Wendy Porras Alvarado, San Jose suburb of Alajuela. They came to thank the Virgin for the birth of their son James.

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