Monday, June 23, 2014

Lord of the Fall

On the third block of Av. Republica Dominicana, just down from Plaza San Jose and across the street from the main market in Jesus Maria, resides a local landmark that is, literally, an icon.   

Inside a relatively nondescript archway that looks like it might be the entrance to the several-storey building above it, there is a figure of Jesus that is an object of veneration by locals and even people from further afield, including Mama Pali, my late grandmother.

The story goes that a sculptor named Marcos Huapaya created the image with the intention of selling it, but that fate intervened.    Huapaya had fashioned a previous religious image from wood, cardboard, and plaster, and wanted to create a larger one of Jesus.  He selected to depict a moment from The Passion in which Jesus stumbles under the burden of his cross.   The family thus decided to name the figure the Lord of La Caida (The Fall), a choice that was further cemented by their owning a country estate named La Caida.

Before Huapaya could sell the figure, however, a neighborhood woman gave him a white cord to add to the figure's vestments in thanks for divine aid she said she had received after praying before the statue.  Soon others started to do the same and Huapaya ended up building a sanctuary for it.

Later, when the family moved to Jesus Maria, they built the niche where the statue now resides, and where it receives numerous visitors daily, some of whom leave behind tokens of the "miracles" they say they have been granted after praying to the Señor de La Caida.

Huapaya has since died, but the niche is still maintained by his family, who open it up every morning and close it up every night.

No comments: