Bernardo and the Virgin is based on “actual events—in the eyes of many”. It is a book about miracles juxtaposed against the backdrop of revolution. The story begins in 1980 as the Sandinistas have seized power from the Somoza family.
Bernardo Martinez is a devout Catholic who prays the rosary many times a day, serves as the caretaker of the church in the village of Cuapa, Nicaragua. Two weeks after determining that there is no problem with the power inside the church Bernardo rushes to investigate when the lights appear to be on yet again. Inside he is surprised by the illumination of the statue of the Virgin Mary. One month later she appears to Bernardo asking him to instruct the villagers that they should pray the rosary daily and “work for peace”. Aware that he does not have the stature to be taken seriously, Bernardo’s faith leads him to be obedient.
The story moves between time spans to relay not only Bernardo’s earlier life but also the lives of those close to him. Sirias intersperses Spanish into the novel, which brings to life the village culture. In the beginning this may be a little difficult for some readers, but as the story progresses readers will adapt to the flow. Bernardo is a sympathetic character with wide appeal. Although Bernardo and the Virgin vividly portrays the characters’ deep religious faith, the story has more of a spiritual tone than a religious tone.
Bernardo and the Virgin is well-written and moving. Silvio Sirias has gifted readers with a deep exploration of humanity as well as spirituality, presenting book clubs with much to discuss as they peruse this novel.
About the Author:
Silvio Sirias was born in Los Angeles, California were he grew up there until the age of eleven, when his family moved his parents "country of orgin, Granada, Nicaragua. His bicultural outlook on life was shpaed by this move. He attended returned to Los Angeles where he attended college. He eventually received his doctorate in Spanish from the University of Arizona where he worked as a professor of Spanish and U.S. Latino and Latina literature for several years before returning to live in Nicaragua in 1999.
In 2002 he moved to Panama with his wife and several pets.
To learn more about Silvio Sirias please visit his website: Silvio Sirias website
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