Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our Lady of Regla

As promised, here is my translation (The article was originally in Spanish, so I decided to translate it.) of the history of the image of Our Lady of Regla. When I have a chance, I will discuss the difference in the iconography of the original image and later images. I should mention that this particular image of Our Lady is one if not my favourite depiction of The Theotokos , but I will explain why in a later entry. I should also mention I have great devotion to Black Madonnas (another theme I will explore in that later entry).

Please be advised that all the scholarship for the article should be attributed to the original site. I merely translated what was written.

Original source article can be found here (Spanish): Our Lady of Regla/La Virgen de Regla

The origin of Our Lady of Regla goes back to the fourth century, a tale combining both history and legend.

According to the “Historia Sacra” written by the Friar Father Diego de Carmona Bohórquez, the statue of The Virgin of Regla, was commissioned by St. Augustine, Doctor of The Church, while Bishop in Hippo (North Africa). It is said that St.Augustine kept the statue in his oratory.

Thirteen years after the death of St. Augustine (443), Hippo was attacked by the Vandals, for this reason St.Cyprian and the other monks of the Augustinian Order were forced to flee to Spain. On arrival they placed the image upon the beach. From there devotion to this image of Our Lady grew, and the first monastery dedicated to Our Lady of Regla was erected.

The image of Our Lady of Regla is believed to have always been black. It serves to remind us of Solomon's Canticle Of Canticles: I am black but beautiful.

In the eighth century the monks were forced to flee due to the invasion of the Moors and they concealed the statue of Our Lady of Regla near the monastery. In the thirteenth century, after the victory of Alfonso el Sabio, the Blessed Virgin appeared in a vision to a regular canon of The Cathedral of León, where she showed him where her image was buried and asked him to dig out the statue and return it to the old monastery. The canon obeyed, and when he arrived at the place indicated to him in the vision, he grew tired and rested under a fig tree, where he heard an angelic voice calling to him from the center of the earth saying:

"This is my place," repeated the voice which renewed the hopes of the canon that he might find the image of Our Lady during his pilgrimage to the site indicated to him in the vision.Work with enthusiasm and faith at this site, "! Oh wonder!" (Exclaims in his narration Friar Thomas Harrera), the canon finds the deposit and within it he finds a lit sacred lamp, along with a preserved chalice which were buried with Our Lady and Mother.

Our Lady is then restored to her rightful temple, and a small chapel is built upon the site of where her image was found. To this day at the site of this wonderful occurrence now known as Humilladero, the fig tree and cistern are still present. From that time on, the sanctuary of Our Lady of Regla has been sought by all seeking her aid. She has become well admired for the many graces and requests which have been granted to her devotees through her intercessory prayers. Many who have been relieved of their maladies.

Some say that the title of "Regla" (Regla = Rule) is due to her patronage of the rule of the Augustinian friars. This is not surprising considering that the very St. Augustine was a great devotee of the Virgin Mary. It is also known that Don Alonso Perez de Guzman erected in Chipiona the castle of Regla.

From its beautiful oceanfront sanctuary in Chipiona (Spain), Our Lady of Regla, is brought forth in a magnificent procession every September 8, which brings together thousands of her devotees.

From Spain, her devotees, mainly Augustinian friars spread devotion to this particular image of Our Lady to many parts of the world. This devotion reached its apex in the eighteenth century. Today she is venerated in Spain, Cuba, Miami (USA), Mexico, Dominican Republic, Philippines and the Netherlands.

Cuba: La Regla, a small neighbouring town of Havana is named after this Marian devotion, nonetheless Our Lady of Regla is known and revered throughout the island. Despite Communist oppression and lack of religious training, there are always those who go on pilgrimage to The Church of Our Lady of Regla.

Unfortunately Santeria, the syncretic religion forged by uncatechized African slaves, blends elements of Catholicism with tradition Yoruban religious practices. This has caused many Cubans (and practicioners of this and other related faiths) to confuse the Our Lady of Regla with the “goddess” (Orisha) Yemaya, “goddess” of maternity or Olokun, “god”/“goddess” of the deep. Fortunately, not all have fallen into these errors. The large processions done in honor of Our Lady of Regla, especially the one celebrated on September 8th, clearly shows the continuing victory of The Church’s evangelization as well as the love and devotion this nation (Cuba) holds for The Mother of GOD.

Miami (USA): Cuban exiles in Miami took with them the devotion to Our Lady of Regla. Akin to the issues raised with Our Lady of Regla’s use in Santeria. Several schismatic churches (separated from the Catholic church) in Miami are named for the Virgin Rule. These are the so called Orthodox churches, but within the Orthodox church there exists no such devotion to Our Lady of Regla .

1 comment:

  1. It should be remembered that the cult to the Mother of God (Theotokos) originated in the Eastern Orthodox Church at the Council o0f Ephesus (381) and that Our Lady of Regla is just one of the many titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary. and as such it is the patrimony of all Christians.


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