Philippine Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, Philippe Lhuillier and his spouse Edna, were recently inducted as new members of the Real Esclavitud de Santa Maria de la Almudena during a mass at the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, Spain.
Santa María de la Almudena, which symbolizes the Virgin Mary, is the patroness of Madrid, while the Almudena Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid. The cathedral was consecrated no less by Pope John Paul II in 1993.
Becoming a member in one of the oldest existing associations in the Spanish Catholic Church is deemed both a privilege and an honor, not to mention, it is strictly by-invitation only. It was established in 1640 when King Felipe IV of Spain ordered the Duke of Pastrana to create an association devoted to the service of the Virgin of Almudena.
The elite association has a governing body headed by the Spanish King and the Duke of Pastrana.
Membership is bestowed upon individuals and institutions that are distinguished by their love and service to the
Virgen de la Almudena, including Spanish government officials and members of the royal household.
Devotees are expected to pray daily, attend whenever possible, the cathedral celebrations, accompany the statue to wherever in Madrid its presence is requested, and honor the Christian ties between Madrid and the Almudena.
The Lhuilliers received a Medal of Honor for their devotion, love and service as newly inducted members of the conclave.
Consul General Emmanuel Fernandez and his spouse Alicia were inducted as well.