Sanctuary of Lord of Wonders

El Señor de las Maravillas

Introduction by Nicole Duran

Description by Dr. Shelley Armitage

El Señor de las Maravillas is venerated in the Church of Santa Mónica in the city of Puebla. It is one of the most famous relics in Mexico. The sculpture of the fallen Christ holding the cross dressed in a purple- velvet robe decorated with golden embroidery patterns is placed for view inside a crystal urn. This shrine became famous when a popular legend of a prisoner’s wife prayed for his release. She met her husband’s jail mate who was a recluse and brought him food daily. After the husband’s release, the woman continued feeding the recluse when, one day, he prohibited her from going to jail. She replied that she was going to see the Lord of Wonders to wish him wonders and not food. When the husband opened the container she was carrying, the food turned into flowers. Visitors make a pilgrimage to the sight and in hopes of obtaining a miracle. They offer prayer and express their faith in Christ’s ability to heal. People from different parts of the world visit the temple and often note the deep devotion of the locals who congregate there.

Ex-Voto Figure 1.

Lord of Wonders/El Señor de las Maravillas

Anonymous, Mexico. Teocaltiche, May 3, 1889.

Oil on tin. 7 x 10”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.28.

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.


In the upper right -hand corner of the composition, the Lord of Wonders is surrounded by white clouds against a pale background.  Three men look upon him, two on horseback and another on foot. One horseman carries a rifle. Mountains and an eventide hue with blue sky form the realistic background. Severo Gonzalez who was wrongfully captured and held prisoner offers this ex-voto to the Lord of Wonders for his miraculous release. A narrow white lower band with the text complements the composition.

Transcription and Translation:

[El dia 9 de diciembre de 1888 fuí agarrado yo Severo Gonzalez en aguas calie][ntes y metubieron prezo, me sacaron el dia 11 de la carsel y  el dia 12 me trageron a es][ta ciudad y me tubieron preso inboqué al S. de la marabillas para que Me libra][ra de este peligro y en rrecompensa del milagro que me hizo le dedico este retablo][ Teocaltiche Mayo 3 de 1889]

On the 9th of December 1888, Severo Gonzalez was captured in Aguas Calientes and they held him prisoner. They took me out of jail the 11th and on the 12th they took me to this city and held me prisoner.  I invoked the Lord of Wonders to save me from this danger and in return for this miracle that he did for me I dedicate this retablo to him.  Teocaltiche May 3, l889.