Magdelena de Kino, Sonora; Autumn 2004
Every autumn, the devout from northern Mexico and southern Arizona walk to the lovely colonial town of Magdelena de Kino to pay their respects to San Francisco de Kino. Driving south from Tucson, we saw people on horseback, on bicycle, and trudging in high heels -- her Sunday best -- travelling along the highway from Nogales to Magdelena. Samaritans had set up chairs and shade; they offered food and water and a place to rest.
When we arrived, the town was overflowing with pilgrims, many of whom had walked for days and were now sleeping in doorways and shaded colonnades or had joined the queue that snaked around the plaza into the church to offer thanks to the lifesize statue of San Francisco lying inside. If you could lift its head to your lips, you were absolved of your sins. If you were unable to lift its head, you were required to make the pilgrimmage again until you could. Many made the trip on behalf of those who could not.
Hundreds of people milled about the trinket stands and waited in anticipation for the carnival midway to open. We decided to forgo the religious aspect of the event (not being religious), and instead ate corn on the cob in the park, and wandered through the empty neighbourhood streets.
Below, just some of the trinkets -- including a lifesize
replica of the the statue of Francisco -- for sale in the central plaza.