#113 Pilgrimage

by Heather J. Kirk

She was not the black stone doll taken from a well by a child, back at the well each morning. That original “Senora de Los Angeles”, Patron Saint of Costa Rica, wore a dress of tooled gold, inside a Lucite case, guarded by rifle and carried by 8 pall-bearers atop a flowered float.

We were angry when church leaders pulled an elderly couple off their knees, when these pilgrims walked perhaps 100 miles, then took the last 200 yards crawling. So close to the altar they were stopped, although another 30 minutes passed before the parade began. We mocked as others worshipped and waited for the parade of the golden Virgin.

I believe in God, but not in one that asks for a pilgrimage, plays upon desperation of a family members’ illnesses, asks them to bloody their aged knees, then won’t let them complete their pilgrimage. I would not want my beliefs mocked the way I mocked La Senora’s representatives and her embellished form. Ashamed, I apologized to the hidden black stone virgin.

Quickly going to the car, we discovered parking guards had failed; the rental car’s windshield was shattered.

It was unsafe driving down volcanic mountains, weaving through late pilgrims staggering under the weight of their backpacks and exhaustion. She rode the hood, not in shining gold—that empty dress still under Lucite paraded the city streets—but the small black stone Virgin forgave me through cracked glass and lead me safely to our hotel.


Anonymous said...

Well written and thoughtfully complete story in 250 words. Well done.

Paul (entry #109)

Flutterby said...

Great imagery of the trials the faced to get there and to make it so close. I could feel that "nearly there" feeling.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Love the contrast between the official parade with the fancy idol and how the people who believe in it are treated matched against the plain idol in the open and amongst the people. Nice.