The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria

I read a short article recently about the relation of Columbus to Our Lady of Guadalupe. I cannot find it. But I can put it in my own words while adding a fact or two. In the great victory of Lepanto (October 7, 1571), in which the Holy League defeated the Moslems who were invading Christendom, the head of the Christian fleet, Don Juan of Austria, flew an exact replica of the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Mexico from the mast of his ship. Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, under that title, went back many centuries before the sacred image was painted by Mary on the tilma of Saint Juan Diego. But that is another story. It goes back to the fourteenth century to the miraculous discovery of a statue of the Madonna buried near the Guadalupe River in Spain in 711. The shrine that was built in 1349 to honor the discovery of this statue of Our Lady and its attendant miracles, was also, as in 711, related to a victory of Spanish forces over the Moslem Moors in the Battle of Salgado. Moslems had always been intent on conquering Spain, which they did acheive in the eighth century, until they were completely defeated at the Battle of Granada, under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, in 1491. That is almost eight hundred years of Islamic occupation.

1492, Columbus set sail to find a westward route to the Indies. As we all know there were three ships on that voyage: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Does this relate to Our Lady of Guadalupe? Yes, it does.

Nina, in Spanish, means “little girl.” It is also an abbreviation for names like Christina, Katarina, Angelina, etc. It is also a Christian name in itself, simply as Nina.

Pinta means “painted one.”

And, add the two to the Santa Maria and you have, Our Lady, the Virgin Little Girl of the Painting. Juan Diego himself called Our Lady, before he knew who it was that had appeared to him, “la mia Nina.”

Is this not wonderfully prophetic that this holy man, Christopher Columbus, would christen three ships under these names, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria?