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L.A.’s shrines to the Virgen de Guadalupe

Catholics have long created their own sacred spaces here. They build altars in parking lots, chapels in shopping malls, grottos in back alleys and shrines in weed-choked vacant lots.

The Virgen de Guadalupe was said to have appeared for the first time in the 1500s, to a poor Indian named Juan Diego along a sloped hill near Mexico City. Somber, hands in prayer, draped in the red and green of Mexico’s flag, she keeps making appearances today.

All over Mexico, she anchors altars — outside police stations, in plazas and apartment building corridors, even in public restrooms. Telenovelas feature her shrine in every barrio. It’s where the heroine goes to cry when she’s in trouble.

In Los Angeles, the tributes appear as vibrant mirages in a world of asphalt and concrete. Some are impressive, with recessed lighting and hand-carved doors imported from Mexico. Others are tiny, with little more than a burned-out candle as tribute.

Proud or plain, where there’s a virgin, there’s a story.

Read the full story by Esmeralda Bermudez,  “L.A.’s shrines to the Virgen de Guadalupe.”


  1. July 5, 2011, 4:09 am

    […] L.A.’s shrines to the Virgen de Guadalupe is from the Los Angeles Times. […]

  2. July 5, 2011, 8:44 am

    it would be great if these locations were disclosed so that we may visit and photograph ourselves.

    By: skylar
  3. July 5, 2011, 7:33 pm

    I did a photo project on the great Virgins of Guadalupe in East LA a few years back. Here are a few:

    By: dan

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