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Everyday Miracles: Medical Imagery in Ex-Votos written in white lettering on a dark blue background.

A deity with a halo above their head floats above the scene of a child lying stricken in a bed with her mother kneeling in prayer. Ex-voto Anatomy is written in white lettering on an aquamarine background below the image. A doctor, his assistant, and a nurse attend to a girl's wounds at the local hospital. Italian tradition is written in white lettering on a red background below the image. Mexican Tradition A man wearing priestly robes stands near a full length cross surrounded by a white beam. Early medical guides is written in white lettering on a blue background below the image. A gallery of ex-votos. Below the image is written in white lettering on a gold background below the image.

Gallery of Ex-Votos


"Doña Josefa Peres Maldonado offers this monument of her gratitude to the Most Holy Christ of Encino, venerated in the Church of Triana, and to the Most Holy Virgin Mary of El Pueblo, in perpetual memory of the benefit, due to her piety, that resulted from an operation that took place on 25th of April 1777, when the surgeon Don Pedro Maillé removed six cancerous tumors from her breast, in the presence of the gentlemen and ladies depicted on this canvas. Although the wound closed perfectly on the 25th of July 1777, other accidents befell her from which she died on Friday, the 5th of September, at 3 p.m., with clear signs of the patronage of the Holy Image and of her salvation." Peres Maldonado Ex-Voto, oil on canvas, 1777, Courtesy Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts."In the year 1924 in the month of February. She was ill with double pneumonia the girl Ygancia Gonzalez and not finding a cure to alleviate it, Saladonia Salor called out to our Most Holy of Talpa, in a few days... her health ...give thanks to God Our Lord and the Most Holy Mary for such a great miracle. We present this retablo as thanks, March 1st, 1925." Girl in bed suffering from double pneumonia, oil on tin, 1925, Courtesy Historia Antiques.A man lies in bed with a bandaged head and a crutch on the floor beside his bed while a woman prays to the Lord of Mercy (Señor de la Misericordia) for the recovery of the man from his injuries. This ex-voto was created to thank the Lord of Mercy for the restoration of the man's health. Man recovering from injuries, oil on tin, n.d., Courtesy The University Art Gallery, New Mexico State University.
"We dedicate this with gratitude to the Lord of Mercy and Reincarnation of God (Señor de la Misericordia de Encarnacio de Diaz) for having listened to our pleas for goodness. A strong hemorrhage of blood by the mouth and nose, we give infinite thanks for the favor he has granted and we make public his miracle this day the 15th of November 1939. Emilio Perez and Candelaria Velasquez." Man spitting up blood, oil in tin, 1939,  Courtesy The University Art Gallery, New Mexico State University."I give infinite thanks to the Lord of Mercy for miraculously saving my life from a dangerous operation…1954, Gabina Cornejo." Woman on operating table, oil in tin, 1954, Courtesy The University Art Gallery, New Mexico State University."I give thanks to the Most Holy Virgin of San Juan of the Lakes for granting me to come out well from a surgery. Rafael Goche Diaz November 1969." Two surgeons are shown in their scrubs and surgical masks while the boy lies on the operating room table connected to modern medical equipment. 1969, oil in tin, 13-1/5 x 10-1/5, Mexico. Courtesy Historia Antiques.
"We give thanks to the Holy Child of Atocha for our daughter because she walked and my wife, was saved from a serious surgery, December 1977, José DamÍan y Maria Isabel." Child with bandaged legs, 1977, oil on tin, 8 x 11-3/4, Mexico. Courtesy Historia Antiques.A woman lies on an operating room table while two surgeons watch over her.  The Holy Virgin can be seen among the clouds at the left of the scene. "I give thanks to the Holy Virgin of San Juan of the Lakes (Santicima Virgen de San Juan de Los Lagos) for the miracle of coming out of an operation well.  Miss Natalia Peña de Jesus, 26th August 1966." Woman on operating table, oil on canvas board, Courtesy Kalarte Gallery."I offer these flowers and this retablo to the Virgin of Guadalupe for removing the dangerous operation on the head of my husband Tivurcio, and thus I keep my promise. Lucha Vidal, Cuajimalpa, Mexico DF 12 December 2000."  Man after brain surgery, Oil on tin, Courtesy Private Collection.
Rigo de la Garza is thankful to the Virgin of Solitude because all the hours that he sacrificed during his youth years practicing in the piano. Playing and practicing the piano have borne fruit and now he is a consecrated pianist that offers many concerts with great success. He offers this ex-voto to the N.S. [Nuestra Señora ("Our Lady")] Oil on tin, 2008. Courtesy Private Collection.My sentimental life was a chaos. I was very sad and depressed, then my uncle gave me his old jeep and I give thanks to the Virgin of Guadalupe that he did that because now with the sun in my face and the wind in my hair, my depression disappeared and the speed makes me feel free and happy. Oil on tin, 2007. Courtesy Margaret A. Hutto.When my husband Juan Jose died I was very sad and heartbroken because we were in love and I couldn't accept the idea of not seeing him anymore.  I prayed to the Virgen asking her to see him and she gave me the gift that every Day of the Dead when I have made my offering altar, my husband appears for a few seconds and thus his image is always intact in my memory and I have consolation to continue living without him. Oil on tin, 2008. Courtesy Private Collection.



Mario Vittorio lies in his bed at home while surgeons perform abdominal surgery. A woman at right prays to Saint Martha for Mario's recovery. "Mario Vittorio 19 May 1898." Oil on tin. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.Maria Gilluffo spits up blood into a basin held by her sister or a friend.  Another woman kneels with arms outstretched in pray to the saints for Maria's recovery. Standing beside her bed, a man with a hand on his forehead shows concern for her health. "Maria Gillufo in the month of March 1904." Oil on tin. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.Giuseppe Santanocito sits in a chair while his doctor makes an incision in his back.  A woman comforts him by placing her hands on his head and shoulder while another woman kneels in prayer to Saint Martha for Giuseppe's recovery. "A miracle of Saint Martha (Santa Marta) granted to Giuseppe Santanocito on 6 March 1912." Oil on tin. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.
Nunzia Leonardi lies on a hospital operating room table while undergoing abdominal surgery. One doctor performs the surgery while several others assist. Two nurses can be seen supporting the woman's head.  From the Chiesa dell'ospedale Santa Marta (Church of the hospital of Saint Martha), Catania, Sicily. "Nunzia Leonardi aged 27 operated on 4 October 1914, Catania." Oil on tin. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario AlberghinaSabastiano Gunsolo, lying on a bed, suffers from smallpox clearly visible as red marks on his face, chest, arms, and feet, oil on tin. From the Chiesa dell'ospedale Santa Marta, (Church of the hospital of Saint Martha), Catania, Sicily. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.
Giuseppina Chiarenza lies in bed while a doctor attends to her head injury. A woman stands near the bed with hands clasped in prayer to Saint Martha. "A miracle performed by Saint Martha for Giuseppina Chiarenza on 3 October 1921, Catania." Oil on tin. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.Pietra Reimondo lies on an operating room table while doctors perform surgery on her back. A small table holds surgical instruments and the excised tissue from Pietra's back. An image of Saint Martha can be seen in the upper right. "A miracle is performed for Pierta Reimondo on 13 June 1924, Catania." Oil on tin. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.Vincenzo Grimaldi has tuberculosis. His physician and several female relatives tend to him in his home while a family member prays to the Martyred Saints Alfio, Cirino,and Filadelfo for his swift recovery, 1927, oil on tin.  From the Santuario dei Ss. Martiri Alfio, Cirino e Filadelfo, (Sanctuary of the Martyred Saints Alfio, Cirinio, and Filadelfo), Trecastagni, Sicily.
A doctor performs abdominal surgery on Santa Inpellizzeri on August 21, 1929. One doctor supports her head while several others observe. A nurse at left removes a bottle from a shelf while another doctor holds a basin in his hands. "A miracle is performed by Saint Martha for Santa Impellizzeri on 21 August 1929." Oil on tin. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.A surgeon performs an operation on the ear of Agostino DiLotta. Three doctors assist the surgeon while a nurse observes. "…Agostino DiLotta on 2 July 1930, Catania." Oil on tin. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.
Santo Sorbello lies in bed while his doctor makes two incisions in his left leg. The doctor's assistant holds a roll of gauze while two other men steady Santo's leg and comfort him by placing their hands on his arm and head. A woman, perhaps his wife or sister, kneels in prayer to Saint Martha for Santo's recovery. "An operation performed 9-12-1933 - a miracle to Santo Sorbello." Oil on tin. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.A woman with one hand on her head leans over while her eye bleeds into a basin on the floor. A man, probably her husband or brother, kneels with his arms outstretched in prayer to Saints Alfio, Cirino, and Filadelfo. "A miracle is granted by Alfio for Domenico Leonardi, 1959." Oil on tin. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.Giovanni Puglisi lies in a hospital bed connected to monitoring equipment while attended to by his doctors. Having undergone several operations, prayers were offered to Saints Alfio, Cirino, and Filadelfo for his recovery. "A miracle granted for Giovanni Puglisi.  First operation on 30 .1.1980, Second on 8.1.80, ACIS Antonio." Above this inscription are these additional words naming the doctors who treated him—"I was operated by Prof. Latteri. I was cured by Doctor Messina." Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.



Retablos displayed inside a church in Real de Catorce, Mexico. Courtesy Kila Phillips.Gina Attina falls from a second story window and injures her head. A doctor, his assistant, and a nurse attend to her wounds at the local hospital. "A miracle is performed by Saint Martha for the most devoted Gina Attina in March 1948." Oil on tin, 1948. Courtesy Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania and Mario Alberghina.Retablos displayed in a room behind the altar in the Templo de la Purísima Limpia, also called La Parroquia, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Courtesy Magnus von Koeller.