Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thirsty in Chile

The sweet frenzy of the extraction is my only excuse for failing to mention, yesterday, the feast of Saint Teresa de los Andes, if only because she was the first Chilean saint, the first Chilean to be canonized, and it just so happens that my new novel (can you stand the wait?) hinges upon a race to have a certain ancestral maiden aunt officially declared the first Nicaraguan saint.

But when I think of Saint Teresa de los Andes (a Discalced Carmelite mystic who died at the appallingly young age of 20) I tend remember Difunta Correa, because they are both Chilean and I first learned of them both in Chile, and yes it’s a big (LONG) country and so this might well fall under the D0-you-know-my-Aunt-Sally?-She-also-lives-in-New York-Fallacy.

Difunta Correa is not a real saint and unlikely to ever be one, and maybe she never even existed.

Her shrines throughout Chile & Argentina could be mistaken for impromptu recycling centers – until you notice that all the plastic bottles are still full of water. Because the legendary Difunta died of thirst while crossing the arid plains, her devotees leave the bottles to assuage her eternal thirst. The miracle attributed to her is that her nursing infant lived on after his mother’s death, taking nourishment from her breast, until gauchos discovered them.

1 comment:

Mickey and Flea said...

One wonders how long the infant lived after its discovery. Rotten milk in the tummitis!
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