Mary the Mascot

During the war for Independence from Spain the insurgents from San Miguel chose the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe (that Fr. Hidalgo plucked from Atotonilco) to show how God’s mother was on their side.

Did you know the Spanish side had their own Mary supporting them too?

virgin of help cactusShe was the Virgin of Help (Virgen de los Remedios) a Barbie-sized image of Mary brought to Mexico by the conquistadors. This image is strongly linked with the Noche Triste or “Sad Night”.   According to legend, one of Cortés’ soldiers, Gonzalo Rodríguez de Villafuerte, was carrying a small image of the Virgin Mary and hid her under one of the maguey plants in order to retrieve and pay homage to her later if he survived. (Hence, she is the Virgin normally depicted atop a maguey plant.)

virgin of helpDuring a later battle in this area, the Spanish reported seeing a young girl throwing dirt into the eyes of the Aztecs to help the Spanish.   As such this image of the Virgin is considered to be Spanish and a patroness to them and to the indigenous who adopted Spanish ways.

A pilgrimage from SMA to a church in her honor in Comonfort starts several days of celebrations.  Pilgrims normally leave around 7AM and arrive around 1PM so it is one of less strenuous pilgrimages from SMA.  The church in Commonfort sits alongside the railroad and features an ornate altar with the small Mary front and center.