I took this photo in Reynosa, Mexico. We stopped the rental car in a small square on a quest to find my boss’ children each a sombrero. As I exited the car, this statute of the Virgin Mary caught my eye. Unlike in many southern cities where there is much more ethnic diversity, Ohio does not have this sort of public outpouring of faith. We tend to stick to white crosses representing dead, aborted babies. Now that celebration of faith – that is one you cannot miss.
This shrine both interested and captivated me. It was a simple shrine, along the wall of a shop near the doors to the church, brimming with fresh flowers, lit candles, and personal trinkets of the Catholic faithful. This representation of faith came closer to the faith I wanted to feel for Catholicism that seemed to be lacking in so many churches I have visited in the United States. Here, the faith was vibrant and alive. It radiated from its small corner and spoke to me from the cracked sidewalk. While I do not think of myself as a religious person so much as I simply have faith, this statute of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child at her feet called to me as I stood in the Mexican square. In that moment, with a foreign language I do not know floating in the air, I understood how powerful and uniting faith can be. I never felt so home so far away than in the shadow of that statue.