Sunday, October 05, 2003

*Ø* Blogmanac October 5, 1977 | The Jesus tortilla

1977 Mario Rubio noticed that marks on her tortilla looked like Jesus Christ.

In the small town of Lake Arthur, New Mexico, USA, near the famous ‘alien town’ of Roswell, Mrs Rubio was rolling a burrito for her husband Eduardo's breakfast, when she noticed a 3-inch impression of skillet burns on the tortilla that resembled the face of Jesus. She convinced a reluctant priest to bless the piece of bread, then built a shrine around it, for which she quit her job to devote her full time to tending the sacred tortilla. Thousands of pilgrims have since visited the site.

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New Mexico is also home of the historic Chimayo Shrine, which commemorates an event during Holy Week on the night of Good Friday, circa1810, when a Chimayo friar, Don Bernardo Abeyta, who was a member in good standing of the Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jes6s el Nazareno (Penitentes), was performing the customary penances of the Society around the hills of El Potrero. There he saw a light bursting from a hillside near the Santa Cruz River. He dug and found a crucifix, quickly dubbed the miraculous crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas.

A local priest, Fr. Sebastian Alvarez, took the crucifix to Santa Cruz, but it disappeared three times and was later found back sitting in the hole the friar had dug, leading believers to understand that El Senor de Esquipulas wanted to remain in Chimayo. Consequently, a small chapel was built on the site, following which miraculous healings started occurring. These were so frequent that the chapel was replaced by the larger, current adobe Chimayo Shrine in 1816. El Santuario was a privately owned chapel until the year l929, when several benefactors bought it and turned it over to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

El Santuario de Chimayo is now known locally as the ‘Lourdes of America’. The crucifix still resides on the chapel altar, although its curative powers have been overshadowed by El Posito, the ‘sacred sand pit’ from which it sprang, now behind the main altar. More than 300,000 pilgrims visit Chimayo’s strange shrine each year.

(Note: On June 15, 1963, the face of cult leader JR ‘Bob’ Dobbs appeared on a tortilla of a humble Mexican woman in Plano, Texas, USA.)

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