santuario de atotonilco

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Santuario de Jesus Nazareno de Atotonilco, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Officially called the “Santuario de Dios y de la Patria”, this small shrine just outside of San Miguel de Allende is considered the Sistine Chapel of Mexico, owing the the superb Mexican folk baroque murals that adorn its walls and ceilings. 

According to legend, a vision of Christ crowned with thorns appeared to Father Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro in a vision while reposing under a mesquite tree. At the time the area was still not yet fully converted to Christianity; it was supposedly the will of the Lord that a church be built on the spot for the pious exercise of penance and mortification. The Santuario, even today, is renowned as a place of penance, and is one of the few places where the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola is continuously performed. Come Holy Week, flower-crowned penitents troop to Atotonilco by the thousands to atone for their sins.

The Santuario has a special connection to the Mexican Wars of Independence. It was here that the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe was taken to be blessed by Fr. Miguel Hidalgo on 16 September 1810.