Expect morning fireworks on the 15th of August and all-day celebrations at Our Lady of Good Health chapel on Plaza Civica in honor of Mary of Three Hail Marys. The mojigangas will be out in force at 5PM dancing with the Locos.
Back in 1960 there was a priest assigned to the Chapel of Good Health on Plaza Civica who felt the image of Mary of Three Hail Marys (the prayer) wasn’t getting enough attention here in San Miguel. Mary of Three Hail Marys is a version of the Virgin that said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Look, if you simply say three Hail Marys when you first wake up, and before going to sleep at night, to contemplate your day, I’ll give you certain graces like an easy death.”
So when Michaela, the woman that took care of chapel, died it freed up the storage room beside the altar where she had lived to form a chapel. Once complete the chapel had all the architectural appeal of the then popular architectural style of a 1960’s federal building.
Every time we get a new mayor in San Miguel it is tradition for the new mayor to do something their first two weeks in office. A few mayors back build the round-abouts you drive through upon entering town. Mayor Lucy painted all of Centro in her first two weeks. The last mayor fixed up the outside of the Oratorio and the neighboring Chapel of Good Health on Plaza Civica. That motivated the Church to fix up the inside spending over a year on the Chapel of Three Hail Marys.
In that year artists hand painted the trim work while chandeliers and windows got replaced. Today it is stunning and arguably our prettiest chapel in centro.
Mary of Three Hail Mary’s is front and center surrounded by angels in blue, pink and white, the colors of angels and where we get the colors for babies’ nurseries. The chapel almost always has folks meditating in the quiet mere steps away from the hubbub of Plaza Civica.
Part of what I like about leading tours is you never know who, in statue form, will be there that day as the statues move about. It is part of what makes faith more tactile and ritualistic in Mexico.
This image of Mary was seen by two German nuns, St. Matilda and St. Gertrude. St. Matilda’s statue is still seen off to side admiring Mary. St. Gertrude, who was once beside her, stepped out during renovations for cigarettes or a Diet Coke and has yet to gambol back to her post by Matilda!
by Joseph Toone
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkingTours.com, and JosephTooneTours.com.