Constructed in 1927, when the exploitation of its waters brought prosperity to San Miguel de los Baños in the province of Matanzas, the church of San Miguel Archangel today sees its bells muted due to structure’s precarious state. Darovic Caballero, a Cuban priest only 27, lives attentive to the almost three thousand souls in his parish. His voice brings spiritual nourishment to the faithful. He is heard loud and clear and it is understood, by virtue of his transparency, that he speaks from the heart.

Not far from the temple, the proud edifice that was once a place of pilgrimage for those who wanted to improve their health is also in ruins. Some say that the medicinal mineral spring’s bicarbonated waters — magnesium, calcium, with a touch of radioactivity and colloidal sulfur — have lost their curative powers; I haven’t had a chance to try it but I will investigate. What I could confirm was the frustration of a population that went from prosperity to abandonment.

The Archangel Michael is depicted holding a balance in one hand and a sword in the other, while under his feet, evil lies defeated. The leader of of the heavenly host still has a lot to do. How I envy people of faith!

28 November 2011