PPN Presents the Story of an Enlightened Bishop

PPN Presents the Story of an Enlightened Bishop


Historical Walk from Patronato Pro Niños (PPN)
Mon, Wed, Fri
Jardín, in front of Parroquia, 9:45am
No reservations
300 pesos donation

By Mamie Spiegel

Vasco de Quiroga (1470s–1565) was among the first and best of the Spaniards to come to New Spain, as Mexico was called before its Independence. I will tell you three things about this man:

First, 12 years after the Spaniards invaded Mesoamerica, Vasco de Quiroga was sent to Michoacán to deal with the rioting Indians and became the Bishop of Michoacán. What Quiroga did, instead of bludgeoning the Purépecha (Tarascan) Indians, was to gather them into various towns, and each town was dedicated to producing one of the many crafts for which these Indians were famous. His plan was based on ideas from Thomas More’s Utopia. The amazing thing is that Quiroga was doing this in 1533, just 17 years after More’s book was published. The plan worked.

Secondly, Vasco de Quiroga, like his contemporary the Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas, spent his life fighting for Indians and against Spanish greed and cruelty.

Finally, Vasco de Quiroga was particularly impressed by the wonderful large sculptures Purépechas crafted of their gods out of a paste they made of cornstalks and orchid bulbs. The figures were light and easy to carry, and the material was perfect for fine modeling. He liked the work so much that he founded The Sculpture School of Pátzcuaro, dedicated to the craft, and had dozens of Christ figures made using the ancient technique.

Since you’ve already read this far, I guess you’ll be awfully glad to know that you can see a pretty rare example of one of these corn paste Christs from Pátzcuaro in our very own Parroquia in San Miguel de Allende. If you take a Historical Walk, I promise to tell you all about it. For two and a half hours you will walk around and hear all kinds of fascinating things about San Miguel, its society, its architecture, its contribution to Mexican history. After the tour, you’ll be much more knowledgeable about local history. One hundred percent of your donations go to support the important work of PPN. For almost 50 years, this Mexican nonprofit organization has been providing necessary medical, dental, and psychological care to the children of families who cannot afford these services. In 2019, more than 9,000 children were served and over 90 villages in the campo surrounding San Miguel were visited by our mobile customized medical and dental units. 

All Walks are conducted in English. Private tours for your family, company or organization can be arranged. Contact Christina @ 415 152 7796. historicalwt@patronatoproninos.org.