Friday, May 2, 2014


The day before Thanksgiving 2009, Ben took me on the San Javier Pilgrimage dates back to 1760. The native indians of Loreto had tribes that spoke different languages. The Guaycura of Loreto and the Cochimi of San Javier held entirely differing customs. Padre Jacob wrote "They have no words to express whatever is not material and not perceptible to the senses. If it could not be seen or touched, they had no words to communicate virtue, vices, feelings or quality. Life, death, weather, time, cold, heat, world, rain, truth, friend, honor, decency, faith love, hope, desire, anger, hate, patience, graditude, beauty, happiness could not be put into words. They had words up to the number four, after that the indians simply held up a hand, to signal "MORE". To illustrate the lack of language of the natives the Jesuit priests told the story of a youth (PACO) from San Javier who journeyed to Loreto. The priest in Loreto sent PACO back to San Javier with a letter to Padre Juan Ugarte telling him the latest news and mentioned two loaves of bread he was sending via PACO. Bread was only baked in Loreto and it was a rare treat. On his trek, the PACO tasted the bread and enjoyed it so much he ate all of it. When the Padre read the note he asked PACO to give him what was sent with the note. PACO denied that the Loreto priest had given him anything with the note. Padre Ugarte reminded PACO that he had two loaves of bread. The boy asked "who said so?" Holding up the note the priest said "this". PACO was astounded that a thin piece of paper could speak. The boy stood his ground and replied that if the paper said that he had bread, that the paper was lying. On a return trip with more loaves of bread PACO decided to hide the note behind a tree while he ate the bread so the paper could not see him eat. Padre Ugarte received the second note and said that he knew that PACO had been sent more bread with this note. The boy then admitted that he had eaten the bread on his first journey in front of the paper, but this time he hid himself where the note could not see him. If the note said he ate anything, the note was surely lying because the note did not see him and therefore does not know if he ate bread or what he did. We travelled the same path as PACO to reach San Javier and had I been sent up this 20 mile climb, I would have ate the bread too! This is the staircase that leads up to the roof of San Javier where the bell is. Feeling a peaceful presence I snapped a few shots of the view. Peoples come from all around to prayerfully consider their loved ones, and give thanks while asking Saint San Javier for miracles. Many miracles have occured at San Javier over the years. A new Thanksgiving tradition began in 2009. A trip to Loreto to visit my brother and his bride Jill will replace times shared at the Stockton Yacht Club in years past. On a cool Wednesday morning 11-25-09 the winds shifted our plans for the day. Ben adorned his feet with socks and said "The winds are high, the sea has given us reason to rethink our plans. The Alleycat stays put today so we shall take a private pilgrimage. San Javier is the esteemed 2nd mission which is located beyond the highest pointed mountain 1700 feet above sea level. The stone church in San Javier is protected by the mountains and has been standing since 1744. The ornate alter was carried by burro from Mexico City up the same steep, rocky roads that we climbed on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving! This remote village was established in the early 1700's. Then and now farms grow foods with a year round water supply. Orange groves, vineyards, date palms and fig trees planted by missionaries provide livelihood for residents to this day. What a fantastic journey of reflection on all that we have to be greatful for! Mucho Gracias Benito y Jilly for the perfect tour!