The Miraculous Statue

On October 4th, the village of Magdalena, Mexico honors St. Frances Xavier, an event that draws thousands of worshipers on pilgrimage. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, with a special program from our archives.

Jim Griffith is coordinator of the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona library.

“The first thing that I, as a pilgrim to Magdalena, would need to do is to walk to the church. And there probably will be a line standing in front of the chapel on the side of the church. And I will get at the end of that line and eventually get so I could be standing right next to the reclining statue of Saint Francis Xavier, who in a way is the focus of the whole pilgrimage. And if I were a Mexican-American at that point I might kiss the statue. I might try to lift the head of the statue because there’s a belief that the saint indicates his relationship to you by whether or not he allows you to lift his head. It’s a statue of a man lying down and so it is quite possible to slip your hand under his head and lift it up. What becomes legendary are the accounts of eyewitnesses who tell me that they’ve seen strong men, unable to lift the statue’s head, fall on their knees with tears streaming down their face, praying intensely, while all the time little old ladies are coming and lifting the statue clear off the ground. The belief is that if Saint Francis does not allow you to lift his head up off the pillow, your relationship with him is in serious trouble and you need to repair that relationship through prayer, through acts of penance, through something.”

The celebration in honor of St. Francis takes place in Magdalena, Mexico on October 4th. This program from our archives was originally broadcast in 1997. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet..

The Miraculous Statue

In Magdalena, Mexico, a statue of St. Francis Xavier draws thousands of worshippers on pilgrimage.
Air Date:10/05/2021
Scientist:
Transcript:

On October 4th, the village of Magdalena, Mexico honors St. Frances Xavier, an event that draws thousands of worshipers on pilgrimage. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, with a special program from our archives. Jim Griffith is coordinator of the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona library. "The first thing that I, as a pilgrim to Magdalena, would need to do is to walk to the church. And there probably will be a line standing in front of the chapel on the side of the church. And I will get at the end of that line and eventually get so I could be standing right next to the reclining statue of Saint Francis Xavier, who in a way is the focus of the whole pilgrimage. And if I were a Mexican-American at that point I might kiss the statue. I might try to lift the head of the statue because there's a belief that the saint indicates his relationship to you by whether or not he allows you to lift his head. It's a statue of a man lying down and so it is quite possible to slip your hand under his head and lift it up. What becomes legendary are the accounts of eyewitnesses who tell me that they've seen strong men, unable to lift the statue's head, fall on their knees with tears streaming down their face, praying intensely, while all the time little old ladies are coming and lifting the statue clear off the ground. The belief is that if Saint Francis does not allow you to lift his head up off the pillow, your relationship with him is in serious trouble and you need to repair that relationship through prayer, through acts of penance, through something." The celebration in honor of St. Francis takes place in Magdalena, Mexico on October 4th. This program from our archives was originally broadcast in 1997. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet..