The Church of Our Lady of Sorrow, a symbol of Isle of Youth architecture

The Church of Our Lady of Sorrow, a symbol of Isle of Youth architecture

Heritage & Traditions

By Fabiana Matamoros

The religious constructions that are called Church of Our Lady of Sorrow generally refer to Catholic temples dedicated to the Virgin Mary, under the invocation of the Virgin of the Sorrows.

There are hundreds around the world and Cuba also has some of these in Santiago de Cuba, Bayamo, Villa Clara and also in the special municipality, Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth).

In the special municipality, the Parish Church of Our Lady of Sorrow (Iglesia Parroquial Nuestra Señora de los Dolores) is a religious institution closely linked to the origin of the towns founded during Spanish colonialism, and therefore, of Hispanic religious customs.

Located northwest of the Central Park of Nueva Gerona, it represents an icon of the Isle’s architecture. Its history dates back to May 30, 1859, when the masonry walls and tile roof were built for the first time, on a previous structure that was made up of board walls and a guano roof.

Subsequently, several restoration and maintenance tasks carried out have managed to keep the church in good condition, and allowed it to continue to identify Nueva Gerona and Isle of Youth in general.

An interesting fact associated with this building is that the parish priest, Guillermo Sardiñas, was the only Cuban priest who joined Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra. He did so in 1957, leaving Nueva Gerona, and was promoted to commander in the rebel army.