The devotion to Our Lady of Providence, the patroness of Puerto Rico, is rooted in Scripture and attributed to the Blessed Mother’s intervention at the wedding at Cana.
Known to have originated in Italy in the 13th century, the devotion was brought to Spain where a shrine is built in Catalonia.
It was Catalonian Bishop Gil Esteve, who was named bishop of Puerto Rico, who brought the devotion to the island, putting his work in the hands of “divine providence,” after finding the cathedral and the finances of the diocese in terrible shape. Through his faithful devotion, the cathedral was fully restored in less than five years – a remarkable feat.
Since then, devotion to the Virgin of Providence was established there. Soon after, Bishop Esteve ordered a carved image of the Blessed Mother holding a sleeping baby Jesus in her arms from Barcelona, Spain, that graced the cathedral for more than 65 years. It was replaced in 1920 by another image carved out of wood that remains that is what most Puerto Ricans are familiar with – a sleeping, trustful baby Jesus on the lap of his devoted mother.
Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 12:30 p.m., San Jose Parish in Jacksonville. The main celebrant will be Bishop Felipe J. Estévez