La Negrita de los Ángeles. Costa Rica’s patron saint

The Catholic faith continues to be a transcendental part of Latin America. And in Costa Rica it reaches its maximum fervor every August 2, with the celebration of the day of the Virgin of the Angels. Patron saint of Costa Rica, affectionately known as “la Negrita de the Angels” by the color of its stone and the features of its face.

The history and legend of the Virgin of the Angels.

Virgen de los Ángeles Statue

The story tells that La Negrita was found on August 2nd, 1635, in the City of Cartago, the first capital of Costa Rica, by a young mulatto woman that legend names as Juana Pereira, the figure is a sculpture in Volcanic stone, Jade and Graphite, no more than 20 centimeters high.

The legend and the faith of the people describe her as a Creole Virgin from the new world. That decides to look more like the original inhabitants of the Americas rather than the Spanish and European settlers of the old continent… The virgin thus decides to move away from European aesthetics, traditional religious art and the dominant narrative of the Roman clergy… The patron saint of Costa Rica is mulatto like the country’s inhabitants, a mixture of Indian, black and European.

The meaning of her appearance

In this way, she invites coexistence and equality between races… If the Mother of God decides to be mulatto and black, white and Indian. Without ceasing here divine nature, it is a clear manifestation that faith and the gates of heaven are open to all without exception on condition or origin.

And if she also decides to appear to a young mulatto woman and not to figures of the clergy, nor to political leaders. It is because she turns her eyes to the unprotected and the marginalized, seeing the needy more favorably than the rulers.

She is like the Virgin of Guadalupe. A virgin of the people. She is not a conqueror, she is one of the conquered. She does not enter triumphant and powerful, but simple, humble and carrying her child in her arms. S

She is the archetype of mother. That extends beyond cultures, tradition and creeds. She is the sempiternal figure of the maternal spirit. And having been found her home in the smallest and poorest of the provinces of the General Captaincy of Guatemala. In new world conquered with blood, pestilence and trickery.

She strives to protect her children from the terrors of the past and develop in them the potential for a better future.

387 years of celebration and solemnity of a people.

The day of the Negrita de los Ángeles is celebrated on August 2 of each year.

The celebration begins days before, when more than 2 million people make a pilgrimage from all parts of Costa Rica and to the Basilica of the Angels in Cartago to present themselves before the Virgin to request favors, miracles and thank for those aids granted.

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