As we parked in the plaza between the ruin of Ex-hacienda La Erre and Our Lady of the Ascension, we both did a double take. Last week the capilla was white with red trim and this week the facade, but not the bell tower, was decidedly light blue with red trim.
The white facade in heavy shadow can appear blue but, no, it had been painted. After a couple of head shakes and a few laughs, we got to work. Linda drew the short straw and tackled the, now, even more, difficult capilla.
The capillas that are in use are lovingly maintained by the communities which can mean that between visits bright pink becomes green, white becomes yellow and truncated bell towers grow several feet. We paint what we see, but if you visit one of these locations, be warned, that the capilla could be a different color than in our paintings.
A plaque states that this capilla was founded in 1673 as part of the Parroquia de la Villa de San Miguel El Grande and later, in 1710, became part of the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores.
Ex-hacienda La Erre and the War of Independence….some more history…..
Many of the haciendas between Dolores Hidalgo and Atotonilco played a role in the early days of the Mexican War of Independence (1810 to 1821) and La Hacienda de la Erre, one of the oldest and largest in the state of Guanajuato, was no exception. Marching south from the rebellion’s start in Dolores Hidalgo on September 16, 1810, Father Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende and their ragtag army stopped for food at Hacienda La Erre where, according to accounts, officers for the army were appointed in the hacienda courtyard, the army equipped with weapons made from farm tools and mass said to bless the army. The rebels’ plan had been to start in December, but they had been found out and the War of Independence had a premature birth thus the need to appoint officers and make weapons.
As the rebel army was preparing to leave La Hacienda de la Erre for Atotonilco, Father Hidalgo, the Father of Mexican Independence, is supposed to have uttered the words, “¡Adelante, señores! Vamonos! Ya se ha puesto el cascabel al gato. Falta ver quiénes somos los que sobramos.” (Come, gentlemen! Let’s go! Already the bell has been put on the cat. It remains to be seen who will be with us.) With this phrase, Father Hidalgo invited people to follow him and fight for the independence.
1The idiom “to bell the cat” means to attempt an impossibly difficult task.
Note: Unless you are Mexican, the Mexican War of Independence was probably not more than a few paragraphs in your history books…certainly not in mine. It is complicated and lasted for 11 years. San Miguel de Allende and nearby towns are the Lexington and Concord of Mexico with historical markers for the Mexican War of Independence everywhere. Wikipedia is a start to understanding this complicated history.