Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mexico Pilgrimage: Day 2

After breakfast, we saw a procession right outside the hotel composed of indigenous people, in full native regalia from Chiapas who were walking toward the Basilica, today, July 31 being the anniversary of Juan Diego’s canonization.

We drove to the shrine of Our Lady of Ocotlan in Tlaxcala. There was a funeral going on and over here, they continue to carry the coffin as a sign of respect towards the deceased. There was a well close to the church where water issued from a cleft that the Lady had shown to Juan Diego Bernardino that healed countless natives from a plague that was decimating them in 1541.

We were shown the ornate area where the statue of the Lady was dressed. This 450 year old statue was found inside the cavity of a tree that was spared from a forest fire.

Next stop was Puebla, at the Temple of Saint Francis with an inordinate quantity of Talavera ceramic tiles, where the 400 year old uncorrupted remains of the beatified Sebastian of Apparitious was on display. Born in Spain, he settled in the newly established town of Puebla at about the time Magellan landed in the Philippines in 1521. Sebastian is credited with building 600 miles of roads and teaching the natives farming techniques. He accumulated a great amount of wealth only to give it all away at the age of 73 when he became a Franciscan monk and for the next 25 years, practiced poverty to the levels of heroism.

After a sumptuous meal of mole, we hiked to the Dominican church that had a thoroughly unprepossessing fa├žade. The altar reminded me of the Santo Tomas church in Manila. What was most impressive was the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. There was a tremendous amount of gold and it was apparent that in constructing this house of worship, no expense was spared. Apparently, most of the gold mined in Mexico were shipped to Spain until a rule that made it acceptable to pour unlimited amounts of precious metals to religious shrines.

We passed through mountainous areas of great beauty. Mexico is so much larger than the Philippines with far more natural resources. Possessing a much older culture, this country has a rich history.

1 comment:

azron said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. I have never been to Mexico even though I live very close to it