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Infinitas Gracias – Mexican Retablos And Ex-Voto Paintings

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An ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or divinity. Ex-votos are placed in a church or chapel where the worshipper seeks grace or wishes to give thanks. Let us give thanks for Jesus Chris and the Virgin Mary for love, sex, money, life, music, my parents not hearing you sneak in, falling dogs that kill, and saving us from murderous skeletons and the UFOs carrying alien abductors. Amen.

 

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Saint Anthony of Padua, thank you for your help. I was asking for a lover and I found one. I met David who is a very handsome man with beautiful mustache. I was seating on a bench in the Alameda Central park eating an ice-cream and he sat by me. We started talking, and we chatted for two hours. So we became a couple.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

During their visit to Tepoztlán, Ricardo Arriaga and his family noticed two UFOs not far away from the archeological site. The UFOs were hanging in the air for more than 30 minutes before people started praying to the Virgin of the Light. This retablo is a testimony of what happened.
Puebla, 1960

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

My working days can be tiresome and boring. But thanks to the Holy Heart my soul gets free at night. I fly among the stars touching the Moon with my fingertips and diving in the infinity. I feel myself so happy and alive.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

The humble secretary Berenice Saenz needed money. So she decided to earn it with her body. She found her clients right at her workplace. So she managed to pay for her two sons’ studies—they even graduated and became professionals. She bought a house and opened a pharmacy. With this retablo, Berenice thanks the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception for protecting her all that time.
Veracruz, 1970

At the day of my daughter Dorita’s wedding her fiancé didn’t come, and she was completely depressed. I prayed to the Virgin of Zapopan to relieve my daughter’s pain so she wouldn’t suffer of the humiliation she went through. The Virgin took mercy upon her, and then we heard the wonderful news—Jose Antonio, the fiancé, had been hit by a truck and got in the hospital. I thank the Virgin of Zapopan for the wedding was canceled due to this accident and not because Jose dumped my daughter.

At the day of my daughter Dorita’s wedding her fiancé didn’t come, and she was completely depressed. I prayed to the Virgin of Zapopan to relieve my daughter’s pain so she wouldn’t suffer of the humiliation she went through. The Virgin took mercy upon her, and then we heard the wonderful news—Jose Antonio, the fiancé, had been hit by a truck and got in the hospital. I thank the Virgin of Zapopan for the wedding was canceled due to this accident and not because Jose dumped my daughter.

 

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Rebeca thanks Holy Lord of Chalma for helping her to find a job as prostitute and to make enough money to pay for the heart surgery for her son whom she loves so much.
January 25, 1985

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

My boyfriend used to visit me at night, climbing to my balcony. Since he’s a little bit dopey, one night he climbed to my parent’s balcony by mistake. Thanks to Saint Anthony they didn’t wake up because my father is pretty violent and he could have shot him, and my mother could’ve made us get married—which is much worse. And I’m not really into marriage right now.

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ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Rigo de la Garza is thankful to the Virgin of Solitude because all the hours that he sacrificed during his youth years practicing in the piano. Playing and practicing the piano have borne fruit and now he is a consecrated pianist that offers many concerts with great success. He offers this ex-voto to the N.S. [Nuestra Señora (“Our Lady”)] Oil on tin, 2008.

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ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

”When my husband Juan Jose died I was very sad and heartbroken because we were in love and I couldn’t accept the idea of not seeing him anymore. I prayed to the Virgin asking her to see him and she gave me the gift that every Day of the Dead when I have made my offering altar, my husband appears for a few seconds and thus his image is always intact in my memory and I have consolation to continue living without him.” Oil on tin, 2008.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

At Irapuato on 28 July 1884, I, Juana Elizalde, promised this retablo to Saint Francis of Paola, who is venerated in the Compañía de Guanajuato, on the condition that my daughter Fernanda Santana recovered after the birth. But I feared the husband, thinking the son wasn’t his, would severely punish mother and child. But seeing the baby, he changed his mind and the child lives on in a legitimate marriage. For the lasting memory of this very unusual event, I give this dedication on the 15th day of October 1884
See Translation

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

On first day of June 1861, Juan Garcia was drifting into unconsciousness while bathing in a pool and anxious that he was drowning and near death he passionately invoked Our Lord Saint Francis who saved him from such a dreadful death

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

I thank our Lord Saint Francis of Assisi for saving us from drowning on 27 October 1962.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

I thank God and Saint Francis of Assisi because on this day, 25 years ago, I was saved after receiving 4 bullet shots in the city of San Luis Potosi

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ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Mr. Gonzalo Salinas Cruz gives thanks to Saint Martin of Porres for saving me from death when a Martian tried to abduct me when I came out of the cantina [bar.] Mr. Fermin Luna Sambrano/ March 9, 1987.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

We give thanks to the Virgin of San Juan for saving my husband from death by hanging because everyone was telling lies against him in the year 1942. We offer the present (ex-voto) with all our hearts. Silao, Guanajuato, January 1969. (Note date of happening and later date of thanksgiving. It is not uncommon to see a vow fulfilled at a much later date

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In March 1982, it happened to Senor Jose Quintero that his mother, Bartola Quintero was very sick from a bad pain in one of her legs, and not finding any means to save/help her, he asked the Virgin of Guadalupe from his heart for relief and in exchange he would dedicate this retablo to her. The Most Holy Virgin interceded and within the next few days she began healing. Later on when feeling well she thanks God and the Virgin for this miracle and that is why they give infinite thanks. May God bless you also. And her daughter Maria Mercedes Quintero. Quelital, county of Guadalcazar, S.L.P September 4, 1982

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Being ill, Casales Cedillo appealed to Our Lady of Guadalupe with all her heart, and for the miracle she dedicates this retalbo.

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ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

“We give thanks to the Holy Child of Atocha for our daughter because she walked and my wife, was saved from a serious surgery”, December 1977, José DamÍan y Maria Isabel.”

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

My sentimental life was in chaos. I was very sad and depressed, then my uncle gave me his old jeep and I give thanks to the Virgin of Guadalupe that he did that because now with the sun in my face and the wind in my hair, my depression disappeared and the speed makes me feel free and happy. Oil on tin, 2007

"I offer these flowers and this retablo to the Virgin of Guadalupe for removing the dangerous operation on the head of my husband Tivurcio, and thus I keep my promise''. Lucha Vidal, Cuajimalpa, Mexico DF 12 December 2000." Man after brain surgery

“I offer these flowers and this retablo to the Virgin of Guadalupe for removing the dangerous operation on the head of my husband Tivurcio, and thus I keep my promise”. Lucha Vidal, Cuajimalpa, Mexico DF 12 December 2000.” Man after brain surgery

''I thank Saint Pascal with all my heart for the miracle that my cooking pleased the people and they left very happy''

”I thank Saint Pascal with all my heart for the miracle that my cooking pleased the people and they left very happy”

"We dedicate this with gratitude to the Lord of Mercy and Reincarnation of God (Señor de la Misericordia de Encarnacio de Diaz) for having listened to our pleas for goodness. A strong hemorrhage of blood by the mouth and nose, we give infinite thanks for the favor he has granted and we make public his miracle this day the 15th of November 1939. Emilio Perez and Candelaria Velasquez." Man spitting up blood, oil in tin, 1939

“We dedicate this with gratitude to the Lord of Mercy and Reincarnation of God (Señor de la Misericordia de Encarnacio de Diaz) for having listened to our pleas for goodness. A strong hemorrhage of blood by the mouth and nose, we give infinite thanks for the favor he has granted and we make public his miracle this day the 15th of November 1939. Emilio Perez and Candelaria Velasquez.” Man spitting up blood, oil in tin, 1939

"I give thanks to the Most Holy Virgin of San Juan of the Lakes for granting me to come out well from a surgery. Rafael Goche Diaz November 1969."

“I give thanks to the Most Holy Virgin of San Juan of the Lakes for granting me to come out well from a surgery. Rafael Goche Diaz November 1969.”

"In the year 1924 in the month of February. She was ill with double pneumonia the girl Ygancia Gonzalez and not finding a cure to alleviate it, Saladonia Salor called out to our Most Holy of Talpa, in a few days... her health ...give thanks to God Our Lord and the Most Holy Mary for such a great miracle. We present this retablo as thanks, March 1st, 1925." Girl in bed suffering from double pneumonia, oil on tin, 1925

“In the year 1924 in the month of February. She was ill with double pneumonia the girl Ygancia Gonzalez and not finding a cure to alleviate it, Saladonia Salor called out to our Most Holy of Talpa, in a few days… her health …give thanks to God Our Lord and the Most Holy Mary for such a great miracle. We present this retablo as thanks, March 1st, 1925.” Girl in bed suffering from double pneumonia, oil on tin, 1925

''Coming out of mass at 7 on June 15 1942 the sisters Rosa and Carmen Ruiz had a fright in the alley behind the market when an assailant with a pistol suddenly appeared they entrusted themselves to the Virgin of San Juan of the Lakes because the guy didn’t kill them or hurt them and only took their purses in which we carried only money and their missal and he didn’t do a single other damage for which they give their thanks with this retablo''

”Coming out of mass at 7 on June 15 1942 the sisters Rosa and Carmen Ruiz had a fright in the alley behind the market when an assailant with a pistol suddenly appeared they entrusted themselves to the Virgin of San Juan of the Lakes because the guy didn’t kill them or hurt them and only took their purses in which we carried only money and their missal and he didn’t do a single other damage for which they give their thanks with this retablo”

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

I had a huge problem. When I met a nice guy, it all went well until we went on a romantic date. When they tried to hug me or even grab my hand, I suddenly became electric and shocked them with electricity. After the shock every man ran away from me. I prayed to the Virgin because I didn’t want to be an old maid. She worked a miracle and made my charge less harmful, leaving me with a soft magnetic attraction. Now I have a boyfriend, and I thank the Virgin.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

I wasn’t feeling good, I had a fever, so I went to bed early. At night I saw all the cats from the neighborhood flying around me. My cats were also flying, and they looked beautiful with wings. Nevertheless, I had a strange feeling about it. I supposed cats didn’t fly. So I became afraid I was going mad. I prayed to the Virgin of Zapopan, and she heard my prayers. Everything came back to normal, and my cats became common, ordinary cats. I thank the Virgin for I didn’t become insane.

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ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

St. Jude Thaddeus, thank you for sending me happiness. One day I was walking to Cuernavaca and I wanted some cold beer. I went to a bar, and there I met Ernesto. This young man dragged my attention right away. Also I liked his mole. In short we started talking, and now we’re a couple. I won a lottery with this guy. We are madly in love.
Edgar Alvarado
Temisco, Morelos, 1965

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

I thank the Virgin of San Juan for making me understand the importance of running away with my boyfriend. With the help of our friend we can ran away so our parents couldn’t punish us.
Carlos & Miguel

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Nora Pineda and her brother were on Catemaco Lake and there they saw a giant cone shaped precious crystal. It was multicolor. Suddenly it shattered into small splinters that turned out to be UFO. They went in different direction and flew away into the space. Nora and her brother prayed to the Virgin of Juquila and now they offer the retablo.
Tuxtla
January 31, 1962

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Lord of Chalma, thank you for saving me another day when I was near the well and skeletons came from it. They wanted to take me with them. I thank you.
Victoriano Diaz
Guanajuato
November 4, 1940

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

I thank the Holy Virgin because I was a very weak lad and everybody bullied and beat me. Until one day I found a gym, where one year later, after so much effort, I became a real muscleman. Also, in the gym, I can admire other guys who are shaped as well as I am and make friends with them.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

I thank the Sea Goddess for helping me to meet dear Elke, a Swedish tourist, who is on vacation in Acapulco with her family. I’ve already slept with her mom and her dad. So now it’s her turn.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

My Mother of Guadalupe, thank you for helping my husband Antonio and my sons Joaquin and Pedro to fulfill the american dream. The immigration police didn’t catch them, and they got in the United States to earn some money for living here, in Mexico. From the bottom of my heart, with tears in my eyes, I ask you to look after them.
Dionicia Lopez
October 11, 1998

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Gilberto Morales became a widower. He didn’t wait a year before getting married again. But then the ghost of his first wife started to appear by night. Gilberto prayed to the Virgin of Zapopan for resting the late wife’s soul in peace. The Virgin heard him, and after November 14, 1954, the ghost didn’t appear any more.

When my family and I came back from our relatives to our village, we discovered that all the inhabitants had been abducted by an UFO. We thank the Virgin of Zapopan because the UFO didn’t notice us, so now we had the entire village in our disposal.

When my family and I came back from our relatives to our village, we discovered that all the inhabitants had been abducted by an UFO. We thank the Virgin of Zapopan because the UFO didn’t notice us, so now we had the entire village in our disposal.

My husband went mad with jealousy, because the devil possessed him. I was pretty close to got killed, when he shot me three times. But thanks to St. Michael the Archangel no bullet went from the pistol, and my husband calmed down.

My husband went mad with jealousy, because the devil possessed him. I was pretty close to got killed, when he shot me three times. But thanks to St. Michael the Archangel no bullet went from the pistol, and my husband calmed down.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

I give thanks and dedicate this retablo to the Virgin of Candelaria. Since my boyfriend left me no man looked at me. But now every morning when I wake up there is a very handsome older man near my window who stares at me.

I, Juan Peña, and my buddy, Delfino Hernandez, thank the Virgin of Guadalupe for sending us a relief from a heavy diarrhea when we saw the fucking devil while being totally drunk. November 2, 1960

I, Juan Peña, and my buddy, Delfino Hernandez, thank the Virgin of Guadalupe for sending us a relief from a heavy diarrhea when we saw the fucking devil while being totally drunk.
November 2, 1960

Virgin of Guadalupe, thank you for not letting a client cut me with a bottle when, on our way to the hotel, he realized that I’m not a woman. I entrusted myself to you in this danger and now I’m all right. Paco, “The Beauty” Merced, 1999

Virgin of Guadalupe, thank you for not letting a client cut me with a bottle when, on our way to the hotel, he realized that I’m not a woman. I entrusted myself to you in this danger and now I’m all right.
Paco, “The Beauty”
Merced, 1999

I was always late for work because I used to turn the alarm off and continue to sleep. I was afraid to lose my job, so I prayed to Saint Francis. Thank to him I found out that if I let the windows open, the birds that wake up with the sun would come to my room and sing me. Now they wake me up with their melodic twitter, and I have a good mood for entire day. I thank Saint Francis for this miracle.

I was always late for work because I used to turn the alarm off and continue to sleep. I was afraid to lose my job, so I prayed to Saint Francis. Thank to him I found out that if I let the windows open, the birds that wake up with the sun would come to my room and sing me. Now they wake me up with their melodic twitter, and I have a good mood for entire day. I thank Saint Francis for this miracle.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Because of our lack of money, we couldn’t build a stable. And every time when it rained, my wife brought the cow in the house so that it wouldn’t get wet. I hated that, because this damned animal licked my feet and waked me up. I prayed to the Virgin of Guadalupe for money for the stable. The Virgin worked that miracle for me, and now the cow sleeps outside.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

After looking for my husband in every bar, I found him very drunk with his buddy the devil. Thanks, Virgin of Juquila.
Petra Lopez
Oaxaca, 1967

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

An extraterrestrial landed near our house and started to hypnotize my son in order to abduct him. But thanks to the Virgin of Guadalupe our dog began bark. It distracted the extraterrestrial, so my son was able to run into the house. And the extraterrestrial only took a hypnotized chicken.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

When my husband went to work to the north, I started to have horrible nightmares about a demon who visited me at nights. I was so scared, I was afraid to go to sleep. The I had an idea to put images of the Virgin of San Juan on the door and on the windows. After that, the demon never appeared in my dreams.
January 20, 1958

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

The day Roberto and I were going to get married he suddenly felt scared and decided to run away. I thank the Virgin of Zapopan that I noticed it in time and caught him. I drag him back to the church where we got happily married. With so many people he just couldn’t run away again.

We thank the Virgin of Guadalupe for letting us cross the river and arrive to the USA for work. From the bottom of the heart we offer you this retablo. The Ramiraz Gutierrez family Guadalajara, Jalisco 10 July 1979

We thank the Virgin of Guadalupe for letting us cross the river and arrive to the USA for work. From the bottom of the heart we offer you this retablo.
The Ramiraz Gutierrez family
Guadalajara, Jalisco
10 July 1979

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

I, Dulce Lopez, thank the Virgin of Guadalupe because after all my suffering, when I fell in love with a feminist and was scared to be rejected because of my heterosexual past, the life smiled upon me again.

All the whores, we thank you, Virgin of the Rosary, for having job and clients and for making money by the sweat of our brow. Oaxaca, Mexico, 1969

All the whores, we thank you, Virgin of the Rosary, for having job and clients and for making money by the sweat of our brow.
Oaxaca, Mexico, 1969

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Thank you, Virgin, you forgave me for falling so low

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Fernando Tapia was very sick and couldn’t go out to the toilet. So he was making his business in a chamber pot. Suddenly a scorpion appeared from the pot and sat on a Fernando’s butt-cheek. He entrusted himself to the Lord of the Miracles so that the scorpion wouldn’t sting him and deteriorate his condition even more. Since the Lord made that miracle, Fernando offers this retablo.
Mexico City, 1977

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Our puppy is very naughty. One day he was trying to catch a butterfly, jumped from the window and fell from the second floor. We thank Saint Francis because he fell on señora Casilda and didn’t hurt himself. We dedicate this retablo for that miracle.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

I needed money quickly, and my friend told me that I could earn it right away as a prostitute. I put a provocative dress on and stayed at the corner near the cemetery. But all the clients approaching me were very strange. They all were skeletons. I was so scared. I thank the Virgin of Guadalupe for I got a job in a store so I don’t need to prostitute anymore.

ex-voto votive south america vintage jesus virgin mary

Through wrestling, I met the love of my life. Thank you

 

Via Stephen Ellcock

  • Ellis Tomago

    Those are awesome, both heartbreaking and completely bewildering.