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Mexicans Turn to Blessed Virgin to Stamp Out Vices

Nicholas Casey - The Wall Street Journal
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August 2, 2013
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A Mexican priest blesses a pledger with holy water as he holds up his signed 'estampa,' or agreement card. (Alicia Vera/The Wall Street Journal)

The residents of Ciudad Nicolás Romero, a sprawling suburb of Mexico City, drink their fair share of booze. The city's garbage collectors have been known to show up on Mondays hung over. A businessman threatened the cops when they pulled him over for drunken driving. One government official careened his car into a neighbor's tomato patch.

So the mayor decided to turn to a higher authority: the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's Catholic patroness whose great basilica lies at the north of the capital.

To set an example, Mayor Martín Sobreya ordered his municipal government - all 600 officials - to pledge to the Blessed Virgin that they wouldn't drink for the three remaining years of his mayoral term.

"We have seen excellent results," he remarked recently.

Legend has it that Mexico's Virgin of Guadalupe appeared on a hillside in 1531 before a peasant named Juan Diego and has since been responsible for centuries of good deeds. One miracle Mexicans often request of her is to quit drinking alcohol.

Read the rest at The Wall Street Journal

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