Our Lady of Zapopan
(Nuestra Senora de Zapopan)
Today the village of Zapopan is a quiet little place not many miles from Guadalajara by an excellent highway. Its tranquility and religious atmosphere must be a far cry from pre-Conquest times when it was a feudal district and tributary of the powerful King of Tonala. In those days the Indians of the district worshiped an idol called Teopintzintl, “The Child God,” to which they offered gifts of hare and partridge. When the kingdom of Tonala bowed to Nuno de Guzman in 1530, Zapopan came under Spanish dominion. The Indian queen, Chihuapili Tzapotzinco, ordered all the chieftains under her rule to render their obedience to the Spanish Crown, and in March of 1530 the cacique of Atemajac, under whose jurisdiction lay Zapopan, complied with this order. The Mixton War of 1541, however, depopulated the district, and the encomendero of Tlaltenango, Francisco de Bobadilla, obtained the Viceroy’s permission to repopulate Zapopan with Indians from Tlaltenango, thus lessening the chance of another uprising.
On the eighth of December, 1541, the pueblo of Zapopan was resettled in accordance with the agreement, and on that day the Franciscan Fray Antonio de Segovia gave to the newly settled colony a small image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. For ten years it had accompanied him on his apostolic journeys. In fact, only a short while before, while the Mixton War was still in progress, Fray Antonio, with his missionary companion Fray Miguel de Bolonia, had gone among the warring Indians, the image about his neck, exhorting them to make peace with the Spaniards. It is related that while Fray Antonio was preaching, the Indians saw luminous rays issuing from the image of Our Lady and that this fact, as much as his preaching, caused them to stop fighting. In thirty-six hours Fray Antonio de Segovia brought to the Viceroy for pardon more than six thousand Indians, who had laid down their arms. From that time Fray Antonio called the image La Pacificadora, “She Who Makes Peace.”
The image is made of pasta de Michoacan – pieces of cornstalk smoothed and cemented together by glue. It is little more than thirteen inches in height and represents the Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception. The hands, joined before the breast, are of wood. The original sculpture donated by Fray Antonio de Segovia consisted only of the upper half, it is believed, the lower section having been added at a later date. As the lower half is not in proportion to the upper, the reconstruction gives a stunted effect to the image. However, since the original sculptured garments nowadays are always covered with rich vestments of fabric, the disproportion is not apparent.
In its sculptured form, the statue represents Our Lady standing with her feet upon a rudely formed crescent moon. She wears a red tunic and a dark blue mantle outlined in gold. The eyes are painted, and the somewhat thick lips are closed. One may find much to be desired in the image, considered as a work of art. Yet we must remember that it has the honor of being the first image of the Virgin Mary venerated in the State of Jalisco and that it has seen the Church in that part of Mexico grow from the tiniest seed to the great, many-branched tree of the present-day Catholic Faith. Furthermore, for over four centuries, Our Lady of Zapopan has been a constant channel of heavenly favors to the people of Jalisco.
Our Lady of Zapopan
|Dimensions||14 × 6 × 4 in|