Our Lady of Guadalupe Tree, carving of the Virgen de Guadalupe in a
cottonwood in Albuquerque, taken with my mother-in-law’s iPhone,
October 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
healing from inside
the heart of a cottonwood
The story goes that in 1970 a parishioner of the 300-year-old San Felipe de Neri, Albuquerque’s oldest Catholic parish, carved the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe into the open wound of an ancient dying cottonwood. The Virgen saved the tree’s life.
Hundreds of people, many tourists, pass the cottonwood each day—it stands behind the church, which is in Old Town—without ever knowing that Nuestra Señora is hidden inside.
I took my mother-in-law, Celia, to see the tree one day in October of last year. We had just visited another sacred spot, a hidden chapel, also dedicated to the Virgen de Guadalupe, to pray for Celia’s recovery. She is a private woman, and this is the first time I’ve divulged on red Ravine that for the past four years she has been fighting a deadly form of lung cancer called Small Cell Carcinoma.
Celia completed the latest round of chemotherapy in November, and last week she got a clean bill of health. I’ve been holding on to this photo since our visit last year; I wanted to post it today as a way of thanking the saints and the universe for Celia’s remission.
Today many people I know confront challenges. Illness, job loss, matters of the heart and spirit. For all of you and all of us, may the Virgen de Guadalupe bring solace and healing.
The cottonwood’s scar is closing, and soon the carving will be locked inside. I’ve been told that the carver’s son is seeking a way to remove the carving without harming the tree. I wonder if the best course would be to allow the Virgen to become the tree, as she is already.
-related to posts haiku 2 (one-a-day), Mary In Minnesota (haiku for yb), Virgin Mary Sightings, and The Virgin Mary Appears On A Bug.