Antonia married Victor Ribas and gave birth to a succession of girls. She loved her daughters, but resented the fact that while his former mistress gave him two boys, she could only manage to produce females.
She decided to do a novena to Our Lady of Charity, Cuba’s Patron Saint, popularly known as ‘Cachita.’ She felt an act of contrition would please the Virgin and incline her to grant Antonia’s wish for a male heir.
Antonia ordered a coach, and in early in the morning, set out for the two hour ride to the Sanctuary, located in the small village of El Cobre. She was accompanied by her maid, Berta, and a driver.
The shrine, situated at four hundred paces from the village could be reached by 124 stone stairs, with landings at intervals.
Antonia crouched like a cat, made her way slowly up the stairs on her knees, until sore with bleeding legs and knees, she reached the terraced wall of the church.
Berta, faithfully following her mistress, gave her an occasional sip of water to drink, helping her along until she reached the top. “You have made it, now you can make your request…you can dedicate this child, sure to be a boy, to Our Lady.”