Maria always walked the back toad to the Church. She would talk to the horses in the roofed coral on the right and peek into her artist friends window to see what she was painting. Her friend painted the crucifixion and sold them across from the Church. Maria supplied photographs of the models for her drawings and paintings when she orchestrated the live crucifixions for the penitents. People in the village and tourists bought them as fast as she could paint them. This was a village with a penitent morada; so was an authentic religious village and the word was slowly spreading and the tourists from back east all wanted a painting as the focus for their stories about how men came there to be crucified. The tourists were invited now and then to watch the ritual. Men, women and children were allowed, under a release contract, to witness the stripping of the men, naked whippings and the final crucifixion process. My concern in the later years was that even this was becoming commercialized, for the tourists. What was a sincere religious experience was becoming a way to make money. Maria was still the loving and caring person, but other people helping her now were doing it for the wrong reasons. It was becoming like the Philippine and Mexico crucifixions where thousands from around the world came to watch. It was likely to become more popular here because the men were completely naked and they were starved for a few weeks before to make them weak and skinny. I’m not going to encourage the marketing of this ritual by telling where this village is located because it means something to me. Maria helped me through a sincere crucifixion to deal with my artist Mothers request I to pose for her as a teenager. At my age it tied into my sexuality as well as the other aspects of life. Maria understood this impact and helped hundreds of males influenced by this religious ritual.


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