The Santa Muerte shrine in the tiny Michoacan town of Santa Ana Chapitiro is one of the most impressive in Mexico and a testament to the dynamism of the fastest growing new religious movement in the Americas.

Built by a recently deceased devotee from Mexico City, it contains hundreds of exquisite handcrafted images of the skeleton saint. Some of the statuettes and portraits of the White Girl reflect the influence of the local Purepecha, the largest indigenous group in Michoacan, who successfully resisted Aztec efforts to conquer them.

Devotees come from all over Mexico and the United States to leave offerings of thanksgiving and also to ask the saint of death for all kinds of favors but usually those relating to health, wealth and love.

In late September of every year the proprietors of the shrine hold an annual feast over three days in which devotees come from both countries to celebrate their devotion to the Bony Lady. I took the photos below during a visit in late December, 2016.

Andrew Chesnut


One thought on “House of Holy Death – The Santa Muerte Shrine of Michoacan

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