Museum to Jose Mojica
Feast of Guadalupe, Dec. 12th
10 AM to 7 PM
Recently I took a tour to visit Mexiquito, the boy’s orphanage in town that is also home to our official town shine to Guadalupe. On her feast day, December 12th, pilgrims including cowboys on horses and barefoot nuns, will take to the dusty trails to arrive here. The center courtyard fills with food, music and dancing all day in honor of the Virgin. But did you know about the art laden museum to the orphanage’s founder and former Fox and MGM movie star, Fr. Jose Mojica?Following his mother’s death, the never married Jose decided to end his music and film career, changed his name to Jose Guadalupe Mojica and became a priest working with the poor in Peru. Well, during that transition he squeezed in writing a bestselling autobiography and starring in the hit 1950s movie version of his book called “I, Sinner”. He sold his hacienda named Saint Monica he renovated for his mother and used the funds to form the boy’s orphanage and the shrine to his beloved Guadalupe.Next to the grotto-like chapel is a museum to Fr. Mojica’s artistic endeavors with albums from his work at the Chicago Opera House and clips of his Hollywood films among the robes and chalices he used when saying mass.Sister Magda led my group farther back into the home Fr. Mojica lived in during his time there that is an artistic paradise. Every room is filled with murals to the folks important in Fr. Mojica’s life including some of the first residents of the orphanage.There is also a two story image of Jesus’ crucified torso and arms, but he himself is headless with his neck running into the ceiling. The point, Sr. Magda explained to me, is for the viewer to place their own vision of Jesus’ face into the work.Alongside Jesus, saints, local orphaned lads and Fr. Mojica’s pals, there are images of Fr. Mojica’s furry friends eternally looking to make sure their master is satisfied with their behavior.While visiting a couple in my group that were from Russia and Israel got caught up watching the boys play soccer and started cheering for their goals. Unused to such attention and lavish praise the boys were stunned and embarrassed which only motivated the couple to hoot and holler more!Back when the facility was being built, it was when the Social Services building (known locally as DIF) was being built, where I now teach seniors how to dance. DIF was built atop of the ingenious graveyard (the Addams Family-ish Spanish cemetery still stands next door, behind the St. John of God church). Fr. Mojica used this opportunity to move a large stone cross from the graveyard and place it outside the chapel to Guadalupe reminding everyone of the Virgin’s special tie to the indigenous of Mexico.Mexiquito is truly a hidden artistic gem to Guadalupe and a great place to enjoy soccer.
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Tours given by Joseph Toone
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Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit JosephTooneTours.com, also on FaceBook.