really, i have an obsession with the catholic church and its history in latin america, but that's a completely different chapter of this book.
the virgin appearances get me. especially when they're so hilarious. i can make a leap of faith about god sending us signs and signals and stuff. but, you know, a virgin crying blood i can't do.
and this particular virgin - the only one i've seen up close and personal - (i saw a 'blood crying' one in mexico from afar) - cracks me up. not her, really, the idea of her... and the environment that surrounds her.
the virgin of the rock supposedly appeared in a cave on the northern coast of the island a long time ago. she was "born" into the rock as a sign for the people, and the cave conveniently has a little well that conveniently fills with 'holy' water occassionally. they've built the cave up, with a little shrine - stairs leading up to the virgins image, pews to pray, and of course and offertory box. they're currently building a temple next to the cave for faithful worshippers.
the funny part about the gi-normous temple? this cave is in the middle of NOWHERE. sure, it gets a lot of traffic - tourists and pilgrims alike, but they're like one-time visitors. not locals who would attend the church.
and based on the outfits i've seen at the cave, i'm sure the virgin would be rolling over in her proverbial grave if they entered the church. last time we were there there were three hookers (yes, hookers. bonified prostitutes... with proof. but i can't tell you how i really know they were hookers, let's just say there are some less than holy men in the family). so in their full breastal glory with plastic high heels and all, they made pious offerings to the virgin. and then snapped photos.
so, we followed suit. i didn't know it was okay to take pictures of mary. or her image. but since the hookers did it, i can't call myself better than them (their shoes yes, their souls, no).
this particular photo makes me laugh because: a) i'm the only one smiling, e. and c. are good and somber, like the good catholic girls they are. b) if you look really closely, you can see tinkerbell in the top left corner hanging out like and angel. and c) well, i guess there's only a and b unless i need to point out again that i'm the only non-catholic cheesin' it up in front of the virg.