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ince ordered that everyone help with cathedral-building, and that failure to do so would result in fines. From it’s inception, it was always the people’s church. A few gaveto help build, others donated: 10 fangeas (Spanish-American word for bushels) of corn, 20 cartloads of rock, a one-year-old lamb, a yearling calf. The people decided on two patronesses for the church, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe of Mexico and Nuestra Señora de Candelaria of the Canary Islands. In the back of the cathedral, tucked in a corner, is Cristo Negro, a thorncrowned Jesus nailed on the cross, all in black, except for the cranberry blood dripping down from his head and his hands. Cristo Negro is situated on a wall, and in front of him are three-foot high candle holders with rows of white candles, flames wiggling. Next to and a little below this scene on the cross is a rectangular corkboard filled with pinned pictures and letters; photographs of newborn babies, glamour shots of married couples, a printed-out photo of a man in armygreens crouching in a plane, a small scrap of paper with a handwritten note that says “Lord hear our prayers,” pictures of teenagers smiling, a photo of a dog. No brown from the corkboard is showing. Most of the letters are written in Spanish, most are folded into small boxes and tacked to the board. There seems to be some hair or thin string caught on Jesus’s right hand; it flutters softly as it catches a current. The original cathedral had a modest façade, white and smooth, only interrupted by the front door. Two domes with crosses atop them shot out from the roof. At that time, the domes of the church were considered to be the geographic center of the city, and all mileage calculations started from the domes. The church was the center of life in old San Antonio, with the city itself said to extend out from the front doors of the cathedral. The church served as a lookout spot for the Spanish military. Mexican General Santa Anna began his siege of the province in 1836 after he displayed a flag of “no quarter” from the tower of the church; the notorious battle at the Alamo would follow. The purported remains of dead Alamo heroes were said to have been buried under the old sanctuary railing by Colonel Juan Seguin after Texas won its independence. The Civil War began in Texas in 1861, when on February 16th, General David Twiggs, commissioner of the Department of Texas, surrendered his troops to Colonel Ben McCullouch on the plaza in front of San Fernando. 26

Connective Tissue 2013 | Volume 6  
Connective Tissue 2013 | Volume 6  
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