by Joseph Toone
In uncertain times, it helps to have a powerful person on your side and the Corona pandemic is no exception. As millions scramble to adjust to life under quarantine, Twitter and other social media outlets have sprouted interest in St. Corona, patroness of plagues, transitioning her from largely forgotten saint to, literally, mainstream sensation.
Corona was a sixteen year old married woman in 179 AD when her brother-in-law, Victor, was tortured and killed for being Catholic by his fellow gladiators. Corona saw two crowns come down from Heaven, one for Victor and the other for herself.
This revelation caused Corona to be killed next by bending down two palm trees, strapping her between the two, and when the palms were released back to full height she split in two.
Corona means crown, which is where the virus got its name for the spikes of protein that form a crown around the virus.
Until now Corona was the patroness of metal detectors and gamblers, folks trying to get rich quick. However, a saint changes with the times and often adopts new specialties.
We do already have two local lads that aid in plaques. On is St. Roque, just to your left as your enter the Parroquia. St. Roque (Rock or Rocco, whom Madonna named her first son for) is seen lifting his skirt to show you a scar on his leg indicating he had the plague. Kicked out of Rome for being infected he survived thanks to a dog that arrived daily with bread. While Roche ate the bread the dog licked the wound healing the plague. Today San Roche is the patron saint of dogs and plagues.
Hence why most vet stores in town are called San Roque (patron of dogs) and why San Roque leads the Easter processions. He is being thanking for his help in ending past plagues.
Roque isn’t the only local lad specializing in plagues. In Atotonilco is the Lord of the Column, a life-sized image of Jesus leaning on a column while being whipped. He is believed to have ended a plague in 1823 and, for that, gets the honor of starting the Easter season here in San Miguel each year (except this one). His daybreak procession is one of our most moving.
Mexicans are nothing if not welcoming and if St. Corona lends us a hand in these troubling times I’m sure her May 14th feast day will be wildly celebrated. My guess is we’ll include a lot of her namesake beer at the fiesta. Perhaps, in addition to adding plagues to her patronage, she too will be featured in future Easter processions. Fingers crossed!
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DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed hereby are those of the author and not necessarily those of the San Miguel Times.