Church and Museum in Cusarare
The name Cusarare means "Place of the Eagles" in the Tarahumara language. In this lovely little church that was built about 1733, twelve large paintings of the life of Mary were discovered. They were removed by Father Luis Verplancken, S.J. when the church was undergoing major repairs in 1967 due to the collapsed bell tower that nearly destroyed the church. The paintings had deteriorated beyond recognition, and it was Father's idea to clean them up and return them when construction was complete. Little did he know at that time how "priceless" the collection was. Now, over 30 years later, they were completely restored by professional European restorers and have been returned to their owners, the Tarahumara Indians of northwestern Mexico. A new museum has been constructed to house the paintings, and is located next to the church.
Museum and Handcrafts Shop report from Fr. Pedro, May 2010
These projects have been the most affected by current conditions. Due to the international economic crisis, the H1N1 flu scare and, most of all, the wave of violence in the Creel area and in Chihuahua, our sales at the shop have dropped by 30% (even so, we are among the least effected in town). It means that many Raramuri that could get money enough for one or two months of corn supplies are now without that, just at the beginning of the direst part of the year. As a result, there will be no food until July rains bring some wild plants or mushrooms to eat. At the Museum, the number of visitor has dropped from almost 700 a month to a mere 80 at most. People are afraid of coming to the Tarahumara Sierra…