It was only few days ago that I took a public vow in this blog never again to post another photo of a church. But I can always find a satisfactory loophole in any of my resolutions. This is not really a church. It is a santuario, the left section of the Santuario de Jesus de Nazareno in Atotonilco, about twenty to thirty minutes from here depending on how many risks you’re in the mood to take on the highway to Dolores Hidalgo. As far back as the days of the Spanish, people have come from far and wide to do penance here and to atone for their sins. It is not uncommon today to encounter a line of pilgrims, peregrinos, trudging along the side of the highway toward Atotonilco.
If you find this architectural style at all interesting, you will want to look at the unhinged quebecois’s photographs of the sactuary, which you can see by clicking here.
The sanctuary also played a legendary role in Mexican history. After Father Hidalgo, the creole pistolero priest, had harangued his Indian flock from the steps of the church in Dolores–now Dolores Hidalgo–in 1810, they headed toward San Miguel Grande–now San Miguel de Allende–to begin the long, arduous task of killing Spaniards. Father Hidalgo’s ragtag army of thousands of Indians enraged by three hundred years of unspeakable oppression were armed with machetes and farming tools.
On the way they stopped at Atotonilco and stripped out all the images of the Virgin of Guadalupe from this sanctuary. Those images became their battle standards. The Virgin of Color blessed the slaughter of the Spanish that followed in San Miguel, Guanajuato, and Guadalajara. The War for Independence that continued on for another ten years was under way. A deep reverence for the Virgin of Color continues to this day in Mexico in gratitude for her inspiration.
I have an ulterior motive in publishing these photos of that particular wing of the sanctuary. The interior of that wing was recently reopened after a lengthy restoration project that involved cleaning the frescos and much else. I happen to know that Michel, the unhinged quebecois, has taken some spectacular photos of that interior. Perhaps this entry will edge him into publishing a sample of those in his blog.
At street stands in Atotonilco you can purchase the rope whips specially designed for self-flagellation.
There is also a good supply of crowns of thorns made from real thorns available for purchase and wear.
I see here on my electric Google Gregorian Calendar that it is Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. What am I thankful for? I am ever so thankful that I am in Mexico.