Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 8 years. Okay, okay, now it's been 9 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Lady of Balvanera

 Yesterday morning I walked to La Aduana with my friends who consisted of my usual companion and a friend, and two of her sisters and a neice and another niece and her young son and the seventy three year old Papi of the sisters.

Like the past four years, we met across from the Pemex at four am. The first thing out of my mouth after the hugs and kisses and saluds to everyone's families was how slow I am going to be walking........this hurts, that hurts, this other thing hurts.................so, they don't really hurt, but I want to go slow and the girls are always so very fast. Now I have been walking for a month out to the arches and back home at a good clip so I think I can keep the pace, just not for two hours.

But, Papi decides to set the pace and I am just rolling in excitement because I know he will be slower than the girls.
 But he is not. He is unbelievably faster.
Well, they are all related, so it must be in their genes. We arrive in record time. Just slightly over one and one half hours.



I was mesmerized this year by the bell ringer. I have never noticed a bell ringer up in the tower. But of course there has always been one, it is just the first time I have actually seen him.

The procession from the church was very late this year. So we sat in the church for a very long time. But we were so early that hardly anyone was even in the church. later it became so packed that we could not get back in. We hugged and kissed other people as they walked down the aisles and listened to the bell ringer ring the bells.

 The painting is of the Virgin of Balvanera and in the shrine below is her statue. Legend says the statue was actually brought here from Spain where it was discovered hidden in a cave. I am not sure how, in Spain, they knew who she was when they saw her in the cave, but they did and they sent her first by ship to Mexico, and by mule train to Alamos and then, to La Aduana.
Legend also says that  in this area, the Mayo Indians saw a lady on top of a cactus. They thought she needed help so they built a pile of rocks to climb up and reach her. Once there, they discovered she had vanished and in her place was a rich vein of silver. The church was built to commemorate the site and was named Nuestra Senora de Balvanera, and La Aduana became one of Mexico's richest silver mines. The town was also the tax collection site for any silver coming by mule train out of Alamos. The cactus growing in the church wall represents the cactus the Virgin was seen on.

  Below is my favorite view from inside the church..........the outside.


We went back outside to greet the procession which walks to La Aduana from the church in Alamos. This is the very first time I have seen people walking barefoot and on their knees. In the photo to the left you can just see that the husband is holding the woman's hand as she enters the church on her knees.

Over the next week many people will be seen on the highway as they walk to La Aduana to pay respects to the Virgin. Since last year they have been making mantas, or requests to the Virgin for a variety of reasons, for better health, better jobs, more food,

 more money or children. If their prayers were answered they must now make a pilgrimage to the church to thank the Virgin.

................me? I'm not Catholic................ I have never made a manta, but when I am walking I think of a lot of different things; sometimes my health, especially if the girls are really trekking and I forgot to take ibuprofen or use my arnica................

................sometimes if it has been a cold walk, I have thought of Senor, back in bed and under the covers.




..............I think about the girls I am walking with, their families, their jobs.

...................... I look up sometimes and think about the stars and the universe and how I think we got to be here................

.................but, I won't lie, part of the reason I walk here is to get my corn. There it is on the right..................cut off the cob, put in a cup filled with the juice it has been cooking in, a huge spoonful of butter, a bigger spoonful of mayonaise and then all the toppings, cheese, chili powder, chili sauce and lime. Yep, I know what it sounds like and it is delicious...............I just mix it all up and gobble it down. 






Here are four of the mujeres that I walked with. My sweet amiga is second from the left and I feel lucky to know her. Everyone else was getting their churros.










And here's Papi, first to get there and first to get his churros.






So, now the week continues with a steady flow of pilgrimage. And on Friday and Saturday nights, in La Aduana, the fiesta will become more important than the Virgin. We have never been there on the weekend nights, but during the day there are many vendors with all kinds of things to sell. I think Senor and I will go out there and look for a treasure.
Right now I am waiting for rain. I went to Navajoa this morning and it poured and I think it is now on its way here. On the other hand, it could go right around us!
Hasta Luego....................linda lou

6 comments:

Christine said...

Amazing and poetic. Great to read.

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

I have been corrected! Manta is embroidery cloth and the correct word for the request to Our Lady of Balvanera is Manda.
Thanks, christine, I am glad you enjoyed the post! LL

Linda Lou and Senor, Too said...

I have been corrected! Manta is embroidery cloth and the correct word for the request to Our Lady of Balvanera is Manda.
Thanks, christine, I am glad you enjoyed the post! LL

Brenda Maas said...

Great post.
I am not Catholic either so I could be wrong about this; but I think that once during each persons lifetime they are supposed to do a pilgrimage so perhaps some of the people are also doing theirs along with their thankfulness for the answers to their mandas.

Lapis Mosi said...

Being opposed to organized religion in general, I find myself looking deeper into the practices of those who do, for perspective, from time to time. No one ever comes away empty from a pilgrimage…be it of any faith. So beautiful and fulfilling this journey seems.

Lapis Mosi said...

Being opposed to organized religion in general, I find myself looking deeper into the practices of those who do, for perspective, from time to time. No one ever comes away empty from a pilgrimage…be it of any faith. So beautiful and fulfilling this journey seems.