Q: Do you have information about Nuestra Senora de la Cueva Santa -- Our Lady of the Sacred Cave?

A: Our Lady of the Cave (Nuestra Señora de las Cueva, de la Cuevas, de la Cueva Santa) is a fairly well-known Marian advocation in Spain, from where it directly or indirectly went to Mexico. In Spain, there are more than fifteen Virgenes de la Cueva. Among the best known ones there is Nuestra Señora de Covadonga (cova=cueva), point of departure of the Spanish reconquista against the Saracens.

Nuestra Sra. de Covadonga

Nuestra Sra. de Covadonga "La Santina"
En el Balneario de Ledesma, Salamanca

Covadonga

Covadonga

Let us mention also the shrine of Virgen de la Cueva Santa of Altura-Segorbe (Castellon), A popular pilgrimage and patronage for miners, . It is called the "Spanish Lourdes." With the same name, Virgen de la Cueva Santa, we also have Beniarres (Alicante) and Mira (Cuenca).The origin of this appellation can be found mainly in regions with mud limestone where natural caves were common. There exists a connection between religion and caves since the dawn of history (see caves of Altamira). It seems probable that statues of Our Lady were hidden in caves during times of persecution. Sometimes statues were found (miraculously) in caves. Caves were dwelling places of hermits or sects and their religious practices which may have involved an image of Our Lady (hermitage). The reference (apocryphal) to the Cave of Bethlehem imposes itself quite naturally, and so does the Lourdes Grotto. In the new world, some of these Marian advocations were used as a souvenir of the old country without having a story of origin with a local connection.

Books on Covadonga:

- Cabal, C. La Divina Peregraina (Los ritmos de Covadonga). 1948.

- Menendez Pidal Y Alvarez, Luis. La Cueva de Covadonga, Santuario de Nuestra Señora la Virgen Maria. 1958.

- Rubinos, Jose, S.J. Covadonga. Epopeya en XV gestas. 1950.


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