Argentina is a predominantly Catholic country, so much so that it’s enshrined in the Constitution. Some people like to show their devotion by making small shrines on the side of the roads or at intersections.

Roadside shrine to the Virgin Mary

Many years ago, a lady who used to live on the same block as my parents decided –for reasons only known to herself- to put up a shrine to the Virgin Mary at one end of the street. This lady raised a subscription among the neighbours and had a brick and mortar shrine erected, holding a small statue of Mary.

Every now and then, I see someone praying or crossing themselves when walking by. And there are almost always fresh flowers. I’ve never talked to anyone about this but I think people feel protected by Our Lady.

On the other hand, there are many shrines dedicated to other folk saints like Difunta Correa or Gauchito Gil, who, however, are not officially recognized as such by the Catholic Church. Some people believe they can work miracles so they go to them for help. I guess that when people are going through a hard time, they take all the comfort the can get.

Gauchito Gil shrine (Wikipedia Commons)

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

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About the author

Ana Astri-O’Reilly is from Argentina, where she lived until five years ago. She currently lives in Dallas, USA with her British husband, but they move a lot. Previously a translator and English and Spanish teacher, Ana first started writing to share her experiences and adventures with friends and family. She speaks Spanish, English and a smattering of Portuguese.