For Cubans, Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre) is as popular and beloved as is Our Lady of Guadalupe is for natives of Mexico. My friend Maria Morera Johnson, whose family escaped from Cuba — and who has managed to visit that island in recent years — helped me to appreciate this protective mother and to bring her into my own home, where she has been given a place of particular honor, and is visible to me all day, just over the top of my computer screen.

In that position, she is often the recipient of my prayers of frustration. Who knows, perhaps I wouldn’t even be a writer without her.

Maria asked me if I would participate in a 7-day Blog Novena to help launch her new wonderful book, Our Lady of Charity: How a Cuban Devotion to Mary Helped Me Grow in Faith and Love, I was both pleased and flattered, both because of my own affection for the Virgin, but because the book itself is really worth reading. It is a personal and very lovely tribute and devotion to a mother from her adoring daughter, and a story of faith made stronger and more complete through this relationship.

And so, I join a group of other dear friends and bloggers in inviting you to pray this novena — you can start today if you like, or anytime (maybe start tomorrow, on her Feastday!) — for your own intentions. And yes, I really recommend this book!

    • So here we are at Day 8, and together let us pray:

      Pray for us sinners, Blessed Virgin Mary. In you, we take refuge. You never close the doors of your immaculate heart.

      O beloved Virgin Mary, my Mother, I consecrate myself to you today: my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my heart, in other words, my whole being. I am yours, Oh Mother of Mercy, guard me and defend me as your son/daughter. Amen.

      Ask for your petition here

      REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

      And do yourself a favor, Buy Maria’s book! You’ll be glad you did.