Sanctuary of Our Lord of Mercy

El Señor de la Misericordia

Introduction by Nicole Duran

Descriptions by Dr. Shelley Armitage

The Parish Church of the Lord of Mercy is in Jalisco, Mexico. The phenomenon that inspired the veneration of the Lord of Mercy happened in 1847, when an earthquake killed 40 people in Jalisco and nearly left the town in ruins. Father Julian Navarro had noted two clouds in the sky, when a sudden view of Christ appeared. More than 2,000 people nearby witnessed the same image and began to cry out in gratitude. A new church was constructed in 1875 in honor of the miracle 30 witnesses attested to have seen the Christ image, including five priests. Arguments were made confirming the legitimacy of the event claiming that so many people were present when Christ appeared in broad daylight. The shrine contains a sculpture of the Lord of Mercy, which many people visit to thank Christ for his faithfulness to his people. Festivities in honor of Christ normally takes place on the last 13 days starting from September 20 and ending on October 3.

Ex-Voto Figure 1.

Lord of Mercy of the Village of Encarnación

El Señor de la Misericordia de la Villa de la Encarnación

Anonymous, Mexico. Pinos, Zacatecas, January 29, 1908.

Oil on tin. 13½ x 10”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.39.

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.

Description:

Against a burnished brown wall and set on a rectangular altar, the framed apparition of El Señor de la Misericordia is flanked at the bottom of the cross by souls of purgatory in flames. Leaning against the image is another much smaller framed image of Our Lady of Sorrows. The supplicant, Ambrosio Ruiz, kneels before the images on a brick floor, a long candle in prayerful hands, and his sombrero by his side.  He is dressed in humble clothes—trousers and a shirt—his bearded face turned upward. The scene is divided in thirds, accentuating the central image of El Señor de la Misericordia ethereally, the supplicant in the worldly center, and the ex-voto text completing the image at the bottom third of the composition with cursive calligraphy.

Transcription and Translation:

[Ambrosio Ruiz, vencino de Pinos (Estado de Zacatecas) dá][público testimonio de una maravilla que le hizo el Señor de][la Misericordia, que se venera en su Santuario de “Villa de][la Encarnación”; pues al invocar su santo nombre, pudo recobrar][poco á poco salud perdida durante mucho tiempo por una affección nervioso, la cual no pudieron combater los auxilios medicos.]  [Enero 29 de 1908]

 

Ambrosio Ruiz, a resident of Pinos (in the state of Zacatecas), gives public testimony of a wonder the Lord of Mercy did for him, who is venerated in the sanctuary “Villa de la Encarnacion”; when he invoked his holy name, he was able to regain little by little the health that he lost long ago caused by a nervous affliction, which traditional medicine could not cure.  January 29, 1908.

Ex-Voto Figure 2.

Lord of Mercy of the Village of Encarnación/

El Señor de la Misericordia de la Villa de la Encarnación

Anonymous, Mexico. Nineteenth Century.

Oil on tin. 7¼ x 9¼”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.56.

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.

Description:

The composition exists in three sections: In the upper left-hand corner El Señor de la Misericordia hangs from the cross, his hands nailed and blood streaming down his chest and legs. Below him, at the base of the cross, are souls, arms crossed in distress in the flames of purgatory. In the right section two peasants—a man and a woman—kneel in prayer.  He is dressed in white trousers and shirt with a red cape and she, in a brown striped rebozo and skirt.  His face is tilted slightly up toward the Lord of Mercy and her eyes are humbly cast down. Three pigs, two brown and one gray, line up in front of the two peasants visually connecting the spiritual realm of the apparition on the left with the terrestrial world on the right.  At the bottom, the text spans the composition and fills out the third portion of the entire scene. Text: Illegible

Ex-Voto Figure 3.

Lord of Mercy of the Village of Encarnación/

El Señor de la Misericordia de la Villa de la Encarnación

Anonymous, Mexico …2, 1884.

Oil on tin. 7 x 10”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.27.

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.

Description:

The composition leads the viewer immediately to the spiritual realm of the Lord of Mercy on the upper right side of the composition. The Lord’s bloody torso, hands nailed to the cross, stretches its entire length, golden rays around his head.  Four souls in purgatorial flames flank the base of the cross, smoky clouds rising on either side of the Lord.  These fiery clouds play off the more ethereal ones that surround the framed image of Christ separating His spiritual realm from the earthly. Facing the Christ image and kneeling in supplicative prayer, Dolores Villalobos devoutly contemplates the Christ. She is dressed simply in blue rebozo and green skirt.  Behind her a man lies in bed, head bound from an injury, a cane lying beneath the bed and a side table decorated with a sculpture of the crucified Christ surrounded by a candle and book. The bed’s details reveal the poster style of the l880s and the pillow and bed cover are red with decorative details in white.  The roof shows exposed wood, perhaps vigas, creating a visual border which parallels the text panel at the base of the image.

Transcription and Translation:

[(. . .)(. . .)2 de (. . .) de 1884 (. . .) acontecio a D. Dolores Villalobos haberse visto gravement (. . .)][del que se vio en (. . .) ma hasta haberse auxiliado espiritualmente. Y en medio de tan penosa][(?)(. . .)imvocó dentre su corazon al Sr. de la Misericordia que se venera en el Campo=Santo de la]Encarnation que le livertó la vida y restabl(ic)ió su salud; y en r(ec)ompenza le dedica el pre(sente).

(. . .)(. . .) 2nd of (. . .) of 1884 (. . .) happened to D. Dolores Villalobos felt very [ill] (. . .)(. . .) of which she was (. . .) until getting spiritual help.  And in the middle of so painful (. . .) (. . .) with all her heart she invoked the Lord of Mercy that is venerated in the cemetery of Incarnation who saved her life and restored her health and in return she dedicates this.

Ex-Voto Figure 4.

Ex-voto: Lord of Mercy /El Señor de la Misericordia

Attributed to: Hermenegildo Bustos. Mexico. Nineteenth Century.

Oil on tin. 10 x 7”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection # 1966.5.31.

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.

Description:

Striking because of the size of the petitioner –large and dominating– the composition emphasizes the relationship between the petitioner and the Lord of Mercy. In the upper right-hand corner is the spiritual realm of Christ as he hangs from the cross with the four souls in purgatorial fires below. The apparition sits atop an altarpiece covered by white laced cloth. On the left, the petitioner, kneeling on a brick floor –in the terrestrial sphere– is dressed formally in a black suit and tie. His left hand is near his heart and in his right hand he holds his hat. Rather than focusing on the Christ, the petitioner looks at the viewer as if to narrate the unfortunately unreadable text which completes the final third of the composition at its white band with seven lines drawn in it, but the text is illegible.

Ex-Voto Figure 5.

Lord of Mercy/El Señor de la Misericordia

Anonymous, Mexico. Ledesma, August 1885.

Oil on tin. 7 x 10”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.53.

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.

Description: 

In a spacious room with beamed ceiling, an open door on the right side of the composition, Maria Felipa Ramos and her daughter, Petra Torres, kneel in gratitude before the Lord of Mercy elevated in the middle right of the larger scene, surrounded by heavenly clouds and flanked by four souls over the flames of purgatory. A large high-poster bed with a picture of the Lord of Mercy on the wall sits behind the women. One supplicant offers a candle and the other folds her hands in prayer for the recovery of their health from a fever. 

Transcription and Translation: 

[En Ledesma en Agosto del presente año de 85 les acontecio a Ma Feli][pa Ramon y su hija Petra Torres verse gravemente enfermas de frios (. . .) [vocaron al Sr. de la Misericordia quien les dió viebeniento la salud] 

In Ledesma in August of the present year of [18]85 it happened to Maria Felipa Ramos and her daughter Petra Torres; that they became gravely ill of the fever.  They invoked the Lord of Mercy who gave them back their health. 

Ex- Voto Figure 6.  

Lord of Mercy/El Señor de la Misericordia  

Attributed to: Hermenegildo Bustos. Mexico, May 1866.  

Oil on tin. 7 x 10”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.89. 

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.  

Description: 

Attributed to Hermenegildo Bustos in 1866, this ex-voto presents the Lord of Mercy within a framed cubicle occupying the left half of the composition. The Christ fills the frame-like portion, hanging from the cross but suspended by ethereal clouds. Christ’s arms, chest, and especially His face, are carefully detailed, his long hair loose down his back. The flesh tones compliment His serene expression creating an extreme contrast to the supplicant filling the right-hand portion of the composition. This woman dressed in a long-trailing black dress almost dominates the scene, yet the artist has subtly rendered her focus on the Christ. The lower narrow white band has three lines inscribed with illegible text. 

Ex-Voto Figure 7. 

Lord of Mercy /El Señor de la Misericordia 

Attributed to: Hermenegildo Bustos. Mexico, May 19, 1866.  

Oil on tin. 7 x 10”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.72.  

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland. 

Description: 

Attributed to Hermenegildo Bustos in l866, this composition features a room with the spiritual realm of the Lord of Mercy on the upper left and a woman in full black rebozo to the right. The spaciousness of the room lends a sense of realism to the composition but also suggests that there is nothing else as important as the apparition. The framed image Christ is depicted buoyed by clouds forming a “v” around Him as He hangs on the cross. His face, hair, and torso are detailed as is the face of the supplicant, Lugarda Villalobos. Her black rebozo—the form and density of it—play off the shape of the heavenly realm in the apparition, which appears to sit upon an altarpiece, held in a decorative frame.  The careful yet subtly painted shadow from both the cabinet and the apparition suggest the power and mystery of the miracle honored by the ex-voto. 

Transcription and Translation: 

[Lugarda Villalobos, cayó gravisimamente enferma de fiebre y en situacion tan afligida??[con todo su corazon al Señor de la Misericordia, quiser te concedió la salúd (. . .) (. . .)En gratitude, reconocimiento y para perpetuar la (. . .)][(. . .) [que su Magestad se dignó hace le, le con (?) (?) el presente, á 19 de Mayó de 1866.] 

Lugarda Villalobos fell gravely ill of fever and in such a grievous situation ?? with all her heart to the Lord of Mercy wishing [him] to grant her health (.  . .)(. . .)(. . .) In gratitude, acknowledgment and in order to perpetuate the (. . .) of this (. . .) which his Majesty deigned to do. . ., she [dedicates] this present [retablo] to him, on May 19, 1866. 

Ex-Voto Figure 8.

Lord of Mercy /El Señor de la Misericordia.  

Anonymous, Mexico. Nineteenth Century 

Oil on tin. 7 x 10”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.37 

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland  

Description: 

The Lord of Mercy with his crown of thorns appears in the upper right-hand side of the composition, buoyed by clouds surrounding the cross. The supplicants—a mother holding her baby and a small boy—kneel before the Lord, their eyes directed expectantly upward, except for the baby who looks at his mother. She is dressed in a blouse and flowery skirt topped with a light blue shawl finished in black fringes.  She and the boy kneel humbly on white tile flooring, their faces quite realistic and detailed, especially the honorific angle of the eyes. The dark wall behind them contrasts the lighter ethereal and spiritual realm of the Christ with that of the earthly supplicants. No text. 

Ex-Voto Figure 9. 

Lord of Mercy /El Señor de la Misericordia. Anonymous, Mexico. 1880 

Oil on tin. 6¾ x 7½”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.69.  

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.  

Description: 

The composition celebrating “a prodigious miracle of l880” features the Lord of Mercy on the cross encircled by clouds in the upper left-hand corner. Below, the supplicant, Tranquilino Cuevas, kneels, dressed in white shirt and brown trousers, his hat respectfully placed in front of him. Behind him is a section of a brick building with a ramp leading to a window. The terrestrial world of buildings and earthy life contrast with the ascending figure of Christ. 

Transcription and Translation: 

[Un Prodigioso Milagro. Ao de 1880. Tranquilino Cuevas] 

A Prodigious Miracle.  Year of 1880.  Tranquilino Cuevas 

 

Ex-Voto Figure 10. 

Lord of Mercy /El Señor de la Misericordia 

Anonymous, Mexico. Nineteenth Century. 

Oil on tin. 6¾ x 7½”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.23.  

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.  

Description: 

According to the text at the bottom quarter of the composition, the parents of Estanislado Diaz, Gerónimo Diaz and Juana Ochoa, show their gratitude for the healing of their son of leprosy. The faint image of the ill Estanislado appears laying on a blue bed on the right, a horizontal form played off against the vertical crucified Christ surrounded by clouds of ascension in the upper left-hand corner of the composition. The parents occupy a central position between the two, as supplicant mediators in their request for their son’s healing through their homage to the Lord of Mercy. The mother’s eyes are cast down while the father looks up at the apparition of the Christ. The father is dressed in a suit and tie and the mother wears a long blue skirt her head covered by a darker rebozo. The heavenly clouds of the Christ reflect the tonality of the couples’ clothing and offset the muted walls of the background. 

Transcription and Translation: 

[Hallandose gravemte enfmo de una lepra incurable Estanislado Diaz, sus padres Gerónimo][Diaz y Juana Ochoa no encontrado remedio en lo humano, occurrieron al Sr. de la Misericordia][quien le concedió su salud. Y en agradecimto de esta maravilla le dedican el presente a 12 de (. . .) 

Estanislado Diaz being gravely ill of an incurable leprosy; his parents Gerónimo Diaz and Juana Ochoa could not find a remedy in human things, they applied to the Lord of Mercy who granted his health.  And in gratitude of this marvel dedicate this present [retablo] on the 12th of  

Ex-Voto Figure 11.  

Lord of Mercy /El Señor de la Misericordia  

Anonymous. Juna (Juan?) Villaseñor, Aguascalientes. October 11, 195(?). 

Oil on tin.7 x 10”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.130.  

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.  

Description: 

The scene and the text each share almost half of the composition. In the upper section, five veiled women and two men kneel with hands folded in prayer and gratitude before the Lord of Mercy appearing the upper right-hand corner. Behind the supplicants, a man lies sick in bed and behind him, on the wall, is a framed cross. The supplicants give thanks for the relief of Ramon Palos from swollen sickness. The boldly printed text completes the composition on the lower band. 

Transcription and Translation: 

[Doy gracias al Señor de la Misericordia Por][aberme con Sedido un Milagro de aber alibiado][A Ramon Palos de una inchason En el Año—l937][Juna Villaseñor Aguascalientes 11-10-195?] 

I give thanks to the Lord of Mercy for having granted me a miracle by having relieved Ramon Palos from a swollen illness in the year of l937. Juna Villaseñor Aguascalientes 11-10-195? 

Ex-Voto Figure 12. 

Lord of Mercy of the Encarnácion de Diaz/ 

El Señor de la Misericordia de la Encarnácion de Diaz.  

Anonymous, Mexico. Guadalajara December 1958/Diciembre 1958. 

Oil on tin. 10 x 7¼”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.80.  

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.  

Description: 

Quite detailed, this exvoto features the Lord of Mercy on a cross with a yellow light emanating from behind. The cross has design details and Christ’s face is carefully rendered as are the wounds on his body. In the lower section of the composition, Isabel Luevanos in a quarter view kneels in gratitude, her blue rebozo drawn around her shoulders and head, hands in prayer.  She is surrounded by a variety of colorful potted plants reinforcing the division of the earthly and divine in the composition 

Transcription and Translation: 

[Doy Gracias al Sr.] [ de la Misericordia,] [de la Encarnáción del] [Diaz, por un favor] [concedido. Isabel Luevanos] [Guad. Jal. XII-LVIII] 

I give thanks to [the] Lord of Mercy, of the Encarnación de Diaz, for a granted favor. Isabel Luevanos Guadalajara], Jal[isco]. XII-LVIII 

Ex-Voto Figure 13.

Lord of Mercy/El Señor de la Misericordia  

José Hernández R., signed & dated 

Rincón de Ramos, Aguascalientes, May 5, 1945. 

Oil on tin. 8½ x 10½”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.127 

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland. 

Description: 

Maria Martinez gives thanks to the Lord of Mercy as she has asked that her son who was ill in a hospital in Montana be healed and brought to her. An American priest comforted him as he suffered from asthma. This sumptuously detailed ex-voto of three sections shows the infirm patient in bed attended by the priest, the Lord of Mercy to the right, and the text in the upper left-hand corner. The priest leans diligently over his patient and the patient appears to gaze upon the Christ. The Lord is carefully rendered, His body riveted with wounds, the head dipped, nails visible on the hands.  Blue clouds lift him up as contrasted to the dark blue pillow supporting the patient. Unlike the nineteenth-century tradition of including the text below the illustration, the text in this retablo is inserted on the left-side-hand of the image of Christ and the painter signed his name above the head of the patient. 

Transcription and Translation: 

 [Ma. (…)tara Martinez] [c(… gracias al Sr. de la Misericordia] [por verle oido sus ruegos, pidiendole] [que se dinara traerle a su hijo que estaba] [enfermo en el ospital de liberr] [de Montana E.U.A padecia el astma] [y un sacerdote Americano lo consolaba en] [su lecho de enfermeda y sigen] [asiendo su peticiones para que] [le acabe de dar su salud por medio del] [precente Retablo.] [esto sucedio el dia 5 de Mayo de 1945]  

Rincón de Romos Ags (Aguascalientes)] [Meregildo Macias] [Pintor] [Jose Hernández R] [Rincón de Romos] [Ags (Aguascalinetes)] 

Maria… tara Maritnez [gives] thanks to the Lord of Mercy for hearing her requests, asking that he deign to bring her son who was ill in a hospital… (?) in Montana, U.S.A, [and who’ suffered asthma. An American priest comforted him in his illness and we continue requesting to bring back his health by means of this retablo. This happened the 5th of May of 1945  

Rincón de Romos [Aguascalientes] Meregildo Macias  

Painter Jose Hernández R Rincón de Romos Ags [Aguascalientes]   

Ex-Voto Figure 14. 

Ex-voto: Lord of Mercy of the Encarnácion de Diaz/ 

El Señor de la Misericordia de la Encarnácion de Diaz 

José Hernández R.,Signed & Dated. Artist stamp in three different locations. 

Rincón de Ramos, Aguascalientes, November 15, 1949. 

Oil on tin. 9¼ x 11½”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.148.  

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland. 

Description: 

For the miracle of being healed from a severe hemorrhage of the mouth and nose, Emilio Perez and Candelaria Velasquez give thanks. The couple sits together on the ground as the Lord of Mercy appears on the right. Rather than the usual frontal view, the Lord and the cross are angled to face the couple, each carefully detailed. The Lord’s ribs protrude, and His muscles are drawn taut by His suffering. He is surrounded by blue-green clouds. The couple are dressed in casual clothes and sit upon a tile floor. The text written in whites is in the upper left-hand corner over a brown band. 

Transcription and Translation: 

[Dedicamos El presente como, gratitud] [al Sr. de la Misericordia de Encarnacio de Diaz] [por haber atenido a nuestra suplica S(a)Ibando] [de fuerte almorajia de Sangre por boca y naris. damos] [gracis infinitas por su favor Resivido, y asemos] [publicar Su Milagro. Esto Paso el 15 de Noviembre de 19(3?)9] [Rincon de Ramos Ags] [Emilio Perez, y Candelaria Velasquez] 

 [JHR (José Hernández R.)] [RdeR] [AGS] 

We dedicate this present [retablo] as gratitude to the Lord of Mercy of Encarnación de Diaz for having attended our request of saving [us] from a severe hemorrhage from mouth and nose. We give infinite thanks for receiving this favor and we make public His miracle. This event happened the 15th of November 19(3?)9 Rincon De Ramos Ags Emilio Perez, y Candelaria Velasquez  

JHR [Jóse Hernández R.] RdeR AGS (Rincon de Ramos, Aguascalientes). 

Ex-Voto Figure 15.

Lord of Mercy/El Señor de la Misericordia 

Anonymous, Mexico …5 of 1954. 

Oil on tin. 6 x 9”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.129. 

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.  

Description: 

Gabina Comejo lies in a hospital bed, attended by a nurse and doctor, their faces masked as if in surgery. She invokes the Lord of Mercy and thanks Him for saving her from a dangerous operation. The apparition of the Lord of Mercy is shrouded in blue clouds and occupies the left section of the composition. The text completes the composition in the border at the bottom. 

Transcription and Translation: 

[Doy infinitas gracias al Sr. de la Misericordia por][(?) arme salvado la vida milagrosamente al sufrir][(. . .) ligrosa Operación.] [(. . .)5th de l954.] [Gabina Comejo.] 

I give infinite thanks to Our Lord of Mercy for having miraculously saved my life after suffering a dangerous operation. [. . .] 5th of l954. Gabina Comejo. 

Ex-Voto Figure 16. 

Lord of Mercy/El Señor de la Misericordia 

Anonymous, Mexico. Nineteenth Century. 

Oil on tin. 6¼ x 7¼”. NMSU Art Gallery Collection #1966.5.123. 

Donor: Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland.  

Description: 

A man kneels in a prayerful attitude looking upon the apparition of the Lord of Mercy appearing in a blue sky. Behind him is an upturned car and strewn beside it the bloodied bodies of a woman and two children. Three road kilometer marks determine that the accident was the 28 km marker.  The mountainous landscape is barren and isolated, the Christ the only relief. The white band at the bottom has four lines with text but it is illegible.