Friday, February 6, 2015

St. Anthony, finder of love San Miguelito's in Morelia, Mexico

I just returned from a solitary trip to Morelia, Mexico.  It's a beautiful colonial city in the state of Michoacon. Michoacon is touted as "the soul of Mexico".  After my vist, I understand why.  Not only is it in the center of the country, surrounded by mountains, but it's a cradle of "magical cities", beautiful villages, iconic churches and vistas  rivaling any I've seen across Europe, the heartland of the US and other far off places.  There's a romantic spirit and a pride among its inhabitants.  This energy is evident whether one is nestled among the Monarchs wintering after their migration from Canada, or dining at sidewalk cafes in the shadows of arched facades and cathedrals towering over the city parks, museums and cobble-stoned streets.

What took me to Morelia was a curiousity surrounding the centuries old tradition of people praying to St. Anthony in hopes of finding love.  I had heard there was a shrine of sorts dedicated to St. Anthony located within the walls of a resturant called San Miguelito on the outskirts of Morelia.

I flew into Morelia from Mexico City and was greeted at the airport by Geraldo, a local tour guide.  When I explained the intention of my visit, he smiled and nodded his head.  Yes, he was familiar with San Miguelito, and yes, for generations, he and his family have prayed to St. Anthony to find love.  He waited while I dropped my bag at the beautiful  Casona Rose B&B and then off we went in search of "love".

I was greeted at San Miguelito by Miriyam who graciously translated letter after letter written in mulitple volumes to St. Anthony imploring his assistance in finding love.  She guided through rooms filled with saints and angels, folk art and artifacts. There are over 750 statues (most are

upside down...part of the tradition) and images of St. Anthony left behind by pilgrims in search of love. I saw a wall full of engagement and wedding photos in testimony to prayers answered.  I even spoke with patrons who were eager to share their own stories supporting this age-old tradition.  Romance at it's finest!  From my understanding, the place will be standing room only the closer we get to Valentine's Day.  Promises made to St. Anthony of return visits to this "shrine" are kept, and so love is always in the air!

Did I partake in the traditional ritual to petition St. Anthony to help me find my soulmate?  You bet I did! I walked around St. Anthony thirteen times, leaving behind a coin at the base of the statue with each revolution.  With each coin, I mentioned a desire for my perfect mate.   I then, lit a candle at the altar, and entered my request in the book along with hundreds of other seekers.

Do I believe?  Yes, I do.

I'll keep you posted!