The replica of an image at the Argentine Darwin cemetery and which was blessed by Pope Francis arrived this week to Argentina's Antarctica base Marambio, the last leg of its passage to Tierra del Fuego and austral islands, where it will enshrined on 2 April, on a new anniversary of the Malvinas war, according to the country's official news agency Telam.
The idea of the initiative is to unite in the spirituality and in the Malvinas claim, all of the Argentine people said Carlos Bonetti, a war veteran and president of the Malvinas Foundation. The religious image is a copy of the Virgin of Lujan, Argentina's saint patron and which in 2009 members of the Malvinas Families Commission took to the Falklands for the inauguration of a memorial in the Argentine cemetery at Darwin
Bonetti said that after the initiative was presented to residents of Ushuaia and the Malvinas Observatory, a multi-disciplinary body which operates in Tierra del Fuego, the suggestion immediately was accepted which was to enshrine in the city a replica of the Virgin which sits at Darwin.
The Tierra del Fuego Malvinas veterans then contacted members of the Malvinas Families Commission and with, at the time Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who collaborated in obtaining a replica of the Virgin to be donated to the veterans on the 8th December 2012 at the Basilica of Lujan.
It was then that we decided that instead of taking her directly to Ushuaia, the Virgin should peregrinate all of Argentina. We managed through an avocation that she be named Our Lady of Malvinas and Bergoglio encouraged us to begin touring the country, said Bonetti.
The peregrination started on 18 May 2013 in the Jujuy province city of La Quiaca and continued along the northern provinces of Argentina.
A year ago a delegation of forty Malvinas Families members from several provinces and the mayors of Ushuaia and Lujan travelled to Rome to attend the special audience with the Pope for the blessing of the Virgin in Saint Peter's square.
The tour with the Virgin continued until having covered twenty of the 23 Argentine provinces, including 92 cities and included a maritime leg when the replica was transported aboard the Libertad frigate from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata.
The peregrination was by land, sea and air because besides the trip in the Air Force Hercules C130 to Antarctica, it will be arriving to Tierra del Fuego with the support from the air clubs in the cities of Rio Gallegos, Rio Grande and Ushuaia, added Bonetti.
Before the Virgin is placed in a shrine being built in the Malvinas Plaza of Ushuaia, the replica will tour another four cities in Chubut and Santa Cruz thus completing the 23 provinces.
This initiative represents the spiritual union of Argentines in the struggle for the sovereignty of the Malvinas islands. It is also a display of effort and commitment by the war veterans and a group of institutions and people who offered to collaborate, pointed out the president of the Malvinas Foundation.
When the Virgin if finally enthroned next to the cenotaph with the names of the 649 Argentines who died during the war, at the Malvinas Plaza in Ushuaia we will have accomplished a goal that will be positive about our spirituality as a people and our union in the defense of our country's sovereignty rights”.