|The Penitente society, also known as La Fraternidad Piadosa de Nuestro Padre Jesus (The Pious Fraternity
of our Lord Jesus) is a brotherhood of Hispanic, Catholic laymen. This society has been traced by some
scholars to thirteenth century Europe and other researchers have associated the Hermanos (Brothers)
with the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi. The Penitentes are said to have made their way from Mexico
into New Mexico in the late sixteenth century and settled in southern Colorado in the 1800's. The adobe
buildings used for worship and meetings (moradas) by the Hermanos can still be found in northern New
Mexico and southern Colorado. Although their membership is waning, the Fraternity is still very active in
religious affairs and assisting their members in times of spiritual and economic need. Ruben Archuleta
has documented the Penitente's activities, rituals, rosters with over six hundred members, and
numerous color and black and white photos in his two Penitente books:
Land of the Penitentes, Land of Tradition and Penitente Renaissance, Manifesting Hope The books may
be ordered by clicking on the order form page.
|White pants, black hood and cross used by the Hermanos
(Brothers) during Holy week at the Moradas.
|Hermano (Brother) Maclovio Martinez lighting a candle
at the Morada de San Antonio, Colorado
|Santos at the Morada de San Antonio, CO.
|Joseph Romero, leads the Encuentro (Procession) during
Good Friday at the Morada de San Antonio, Colorado
|La Carreta de la Muerte (Death Cart)
ridden by Dona Sebastiana may be
seen in the moradas throughout
southern Colorado and northern New
Mexico. This large carreta was
created by Ruben Archuleta
|El Encuentro (the procession) takes place on Good Friday. Here
the Hermanos from the San Antonio, CO, morada carry the
life-size statue of Jesus to El Calvario (Mt. Calvary) as they pray
and sing alabados (hymns)
|The Veronicas carrying the statue of Mary are
followed by Father Benito and community
participants as they sing their hymns and join
in prayer. They will meet with the Hermanos at
El Calavario, pray together and then work their
way back to the morada to conclude their
Good Friday services.
|Father Benito blessing the Crucifix which was
sculpted and donated to the San Antonio Morada
by Ruben Archuleta. Hermano Mayor (Elder
Brother), Charlie Martinez, is holding the crucifix.