The story behind the discovery of a long-lost sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Nuevo León, Mexico

The sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe reappeared in Nuevo León in the wake of hurricane Hanna

The story behind the discovery of a long-lost sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Nuevo León, Mexico
The sculpture is 12-meters high - Photo: Taken from Monterrey Government's Twitter account
English 08/08/2020 14:36 Mexico City David Carrizales Actualizada 14:36
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As if he were a modern Juan Diego, Mexican builder José Esteban Ramírez Cortés has gained popularity because, on July 27, he found a semi-buried sculpture of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Santa Catarina river in the wake of Hurricane Hanna.

The 40-year-old man was looking for scrap metal to sell by the kilo but instead, he discovered the giant metal structure that was ripped off its base 10 years ago by Hurricane Alex, and that was left buried among tons of rocks and mud.

The construction worker worships Our Lady of Guadalupe so much that he even got a tattoo of the religious image on his back when he was 20 years old for he says she saved his life when he was 16 and fell from three meters high; when he woke up at the hospital a doctor told him it was a miracle he was still alive.

“Once, my daughter Paloma fell when she was two years old and hit her head really hard. I asked Our Lady of Guadalupe to take care of her, to make her get well soon, and so it was. Soon after she was ok; the girl is very intelligent, she is 12 years old now and is about to start middle school,” says Esteban, who was born in Cuernavaca, Morelos.

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Another miracle he says Our Lady of Guadalupe granted him took place two years ago when he was kidnapped in Tamaulipas by members of the Northeast cartel when he was trying to cross the border into the U.S.

Esteban has been part of the reconstruction of buildings and, along with 10 co-workers, he is working in the construction of a mansion at the Fuentes del Valle neighborhood in the San Pedro municipality for which he earns MXN $3,200 per week.

Ironically, the man that builds houses does not have one of its own; the MXN $2,000 he pays for rent are for his family’s home in Cuernavaca since he moved to Monterrey, Nuevo León last November to work and send money to his family.

For now, he basically sleeps on the Street along with other six builders, under the Venustiano Carranza bridge, near the Santa Catarina River.

He remembers that last July 27, he went with his friends “El Hummer” and “El Gera” to look for metal as soon as the Santa Catarina’s flow went down.

They walked between rocks, puddles, and mud. Some kilometers toward the West, they stopped to observe that a piece of metal they were unable to take out was among the sediments dragged by the water.

The dug it out and when they uncovered the steel structure, Esteban thought it was similar to the replica of Our Lady of Guadalupe that substituted the 12-meter high sculpture that was ripped off on June 30, 2010, by Hurricane Alex.

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Originally, the religious image had been put on the northern part of the Santa Catarina River as part of the celebrations for the second visit of Pope Paul II to Monterrey on May 10, 1990.

Now, since its discovery, hundreds of people visit the site during the day and bring candles, dance, pray, and ask the sculpture now known as the Virgin of the River for miracles and some have even taken stones as souvenirs or because they consider they could have healing powers.

Moving the sculpture
The works to rescue the Our Lady of Guadalupe Sculpture were concluded on August 6.

The Monterrey Direction of Social Communication reported that the sculpture was taken to the workshops of the Aceros del Toro Company at the Escobedo municipality for its restoration which will be done for free.

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