Our Lady of Divine Providence Church in Maria, Siquijor

The Our Lady of Divine Providence Church in Maria, Siquijor, Philippines is not just another Spanish-era stone church that have stood the tests of time. It is a Roman Catholic church with it's own share of paranormal tales spoken as an oral tradition, that of the Black Maria. Many locals also refer to this church as the Sta. Maria Church. The hexagonal belfry is a national historical treasure. The Maria parish was established in 1887.

Roman Catholic Church in Maria, Siquijor
Our Lady of Divine Providence Church in Maria, Siquijor, Philippines

Painted on its wooden main doors are the ten commandments. The church's design is a very simple one. I like it because the interior is well lit from the sunlight on a bright weather day. An odd addition is the portico built on its front door, painted in white and blue.

The Legend of the Black Maria

One of the unique features of the church in Maria is the image of Santa Rita de Casia, the patroness of impossible causes and the patroness of abused wives, widows, and heartbroken women. The image featuring a sad face with downturn lips, holds a crucifix on it's left hand and a skull on the right. It is dressed in black robe prompting the locals to refer to it as the Black Maria. Locals speak of a legend where the image goes out of church at night and returns before daybreak. Mud and grass is sometimes said to have been found on it's dress suggesting that the story could be somehow true.

Who is Santa Rita de Casia?

Rita of Cascia is an Italian Augustinian nun, widow, and Roman Catholic saint who lived between 1381 and 1457. Her feast day is every 22nd of May. She was married at an early age to an abusive husband who she tried to convert with Christian values. Her marriage ended when her husband was stabbed to death by a feuding family member. Within the same year as the death of her husband, she also lost her two sons. She is venerated as the patroness of impossible causes, abused women, widows, and heartbroken women. She is also the unofficial patroness of baseball.

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