It was surely praying at their ‘makeshift shrine’ that kept the Chilean miners sane

The Catholic Herald reports: One of their first requests, after a crucifix, was for statues of Our Lady and the saints.

Consider the following from Santiago, which appeared on August 27: “The 33 miners trapped in the San Jose mine in Atacama, Chile, have requested that statues and religious pictures be sent down to them as they wait to be rescued… Chilean officials say the rescue could take months but that they hope to reach the miners by Christmas… A small passageway has already been put in place so messages and supplies can be sent to the trapped miners.

“Although a crucifix has already been sent down, the miners are continuing to request more statues of Mary and the saints… to construct a makeshift chapel. ‘The miners want to set up a section of the chamber they are in as a shrine,’ Chilean’s Minister of Health, Jaime Manalich, told CNN.

“This week, President Sebastian Pinera spoke with the miners by phone and then placed a statue of St Lorenzo, the patron of miners, in the presidential palace together with 32 Chilean flags and one Bolivian flag to represent each of the miners trapped since August 5.

One of the first things the miners’ relatives did at the pithead, while it still looked as though they must be all dead, was to set up a statue of St Lawrence, patron saint of miners (see above), who in statues of him in this role movingly wears a miner’s hat and carries a miner’s lamp. And the whole rescue mission was placed under his patronage: it was called simply Operation San Lorenzo.

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