San La Muerte

23 02 2009

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San La Muerte is the masculine equivalent of Santa Muerte in Mexico, this time having his origins in the northeast of Argentina. He probably has much more to do with indigenous belief than the cult of Santa Muerte. Speculations as to his origins range from his being the spirit of a GuaranĂ­ king who was given the task of being the Grim Reaper to a renegade Spanish friar who went native and was found dead in his cell after being imprisoned by ecclesiastical authorities. In any case, the cult to him is quite old and in places enjoyed unofficial sanction from some church officials. One man speaks of his grandfather’s devotion to the saint on this website (my translation):

There was a time, not more than thirty years ago now, when my grandfather would bring the little saint to church to have a Mass for him every 20th of the month. That would happen every month until one day they stopped it. I believe in all humility that it was a mistake for the Church to discriminate against us. We really don’t see the harm in believing in a saint who defends the poor… He would have to be accepted since he doesn’t do evil, on the contrary. And I’ll tell you more, before my grandfather found the saint, he didn’t even know how to make the Sign of the Cross, and towards the end of his life he prayed two hours when he got up and two hours before he went to bed for those who were praying for the intercession of San La Muerte.
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