El Mes de la Virgen

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Have you ever felt purely at peace?  Has there been a moment where you have had no worries and have felt completely calm?  At least for a single moment?  There has only been one place where I’ve felt this way and it is in my hometown of Sabana Grande.  Tucked away on the Southwest side of my island you’ll find El Pozo de la Virgen.  To many, it is a sanctuary for the devout Catholics that long for the opportunity to step where the Blessed Virgin Mary was seen by three Puerto Rican children.  To some, it’s just another way to lure tourism away from San Juan and the countless beaches.  To me, it is the only place where I have felt truly at peace.

Every time I go to El Pozo de la Virgen it is absolutely serene.  There are only a handful of people around and those that are simply seek their own peace through prayers or meditation.  The wandering animals, mainly birds or coqui, provide a playlist that takes you to an exotic new world.  The island’s natural heat mixed with the towering palm trees overhead allow for a breezy yet warm environment that you can’t complain about.  The sight of an oversized statue of the Virgin, endless lit candles, and nature itself create an image that sparks the greatest peace I have ever felt.

As you may know, my religious views are complicated, but faith in the Virgin Mary is one aspect where the Catholic Church and myself see eye to eye.  Ever since I can remember, my family and I have been firm believers in Mary and I don’t see that ever changing.  My faith in her is as strong as it is in God, Jesus, and everything else that’s holy.  My faith in her is something that has never wavered in the past and never will in the future.  You all don’t have to agree with me when it comes to your faith in the Virgin Mary, but believe me when I tell you that the site dedicated to her is worth seeing.  Whenever my family and I go to Puerto Rico, going to El Pozo de la Virgen is a must.  The tranquility that we feel when we go there is incomparable to anything else and every minute I spend there is greatly appreciated.  You don’t have to be religious to appreciate natural beauty and peace.

However, for my religious buffs, yesterday marked the first day of May.  In other words, yesterday marked the first day dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  Although I am not the most pious person alive, I will always have respect for the Virgin Mary and it’s just not in my nature to doubt her.  So, if you believe in the Virgin, don’t stop now.  You don’t have to profess your belief to others (a “holier than thou” attitude is never ok), but let it be known to yourself.  Never lose sight of your faith and hang on to that peace.

For now, I have already shown my appreciation to the ones I believe look over me, instead I just want to show my appreciation for that little spot in my town that has granted me so much peace.

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About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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