He was devoted in some hesitant way to Our Lady, but he loved his vices more. Poor soul. To have come so close to the Faith (as he did) only to spurn grace, turn away too many times, and end up in fatal despair a suicide. His famous boat he named after Our Lady of the Pilar whose shrine he had visited in Spain. What I did not know until today was that he had made a promise, like Captain Santiago in “The Old Man and the Sea,” to make a pilgrimage to the Catholic shrine of La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre (Our Lady of Charity) in Cuba if he would “catch this fish.” Santiago, for those who do not know any Spanish, means “Saint James.” This Apostle, called the Greater, is the patron saint of Spain. Our Lady bi-located to Spain in her own lifetime, in the year 36, appearing with the Child Jesus on a cloud atop a Pilar (pillar). She came to encourage the Apostle when he was evangelizing in Zaragossa without gaining many converts. Mary made him realize that the seeds he was planting then would later bear a rich harvest of souls and a countless number saints. Although he died a martyr in Jerusalem under Herod Antipas in the year 42, the Apostle’s bones were relocated to the shrine at Compostella in Spain which also houses a relic of Our Lady’s Pillar. After winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954, Hemingway went to the shrine to thank Our Lady, and he left his Prize medallion there as a gift to her.
Here is a clip from Stephen Ryan’s column in Ministry Values: Ernest Hemingway’s hero, Santiago, the fishing captain from his famous book, Old Man and the Sea, prays: Hail Mary, and Our Father. These are the prayers Santiago recites ‘should I catch this fish’. Santiago also promises to make a pilgrimage to the Virgin De Cobre (Our Lady of Charity from Cuba) if he catches the fish. Read the rest here.