The Flood At Santa Fe

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Many are the scenes of religious miracles in this country, although

French Canada and old Mexico boast of more. So late as the prosaic year

of 1889 the Virgin was seen to descend into the streets of Johnstown,

Pennsylvania, to save her image on the Catholic church in that place, when

it was swept by a deluge in which hundreds of persons perished. It was

the wrath of the Madonna that caused just such a flood in New Mexico long

years ago. There is in the old Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Santa

Fe, a picture that commemorates the appearance of the Virgin to Juan

Diego, an Indian in Guadalupe, old Mexico, in the sixteenth century. She

commanded that a chapel should be built for her, but the bishop of the

diocese declared that the man had been dreaming and told him to go away.

The Virgin came to the Indian again, and still the bishop declared that

he had no evidence of the truth of what he said. A third time the

supernatural visitor appeared, and told Juan to climb a certain difficult

mountain, pick the flowers he would find there, and take them to the


After a long and dangerous climb they were found, to the Indian's

amazement, growing in the snow. He filled his blanket with them and

returned to the episcopal residence, but when he opened the folds before

the dignitary, he was more amazed to find not flowers, but a glowing

picture painted on his blanket. It hangs now in Guadalupe, but is

duplicated in Santa Fe, where a statue of the Virgin is also kept. These

treasures are greatly prized and are resorted to in time of illness and

threatened disaster, the statue being taken through the streets in

procession when the rainy season is due. Collections of money are then

made and prayers are put up for rain, to which appeals the Virgin makes

prompt response, the priests pointing triumphantly to the results of

their intercession. One year, however, the rain did not begin on time,

though services were almost constantly continued before the sacred

picture and the sacred statue, and the angry people stripped the image of

its silks and gold lace and kicked it over the ground for hours. That

night a violent rain set in and the town was nearly washed away, so the

populace hastened the work of reparation in order to save their lives.

They cleansed the statue, dressed it still more brilliantly, and

addressed their prayers to the Virgin with more energy and earnestness

than ever before.