BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—
Achild-sized Virgin Mary clasps her hands in prayer and peeks out from her jeweled satin cape, blue and white for Argentina’s flag. A handful of somber Argentine veterans hoist her pedestal and shuffle forward, and she floats through Buenos Aires. The men have marched her through 50 cities and 16 provinces, and on the way she has become famous. She is more than a statue; she is “Our Lady of the Malvinas”—the Argentine term for what the British call the Falkland Islands—and a sign Argentina will eventually rule the British-controlled archipelago.
If this statue—a representation of the Virgin of Luján, Argentina’s patroness—does have spiritual powers, this may be the day she needs to use them. That’s because Queen Elizabeth II is meeting Pope Francis today, April 3, for the first time. And it just so happens this Virgin statue and the veterans who carry her took her all the way to Rome in March so that the Argentine-born Pope could bless the statue, and, hopefully, be reminded of the cause of the veterans. Some of them hope their visit spurs the Pope into raising the question of the Falklands directly with the Queen.