WOMEN HERMANDADES Sisterhood from Escuela de Cristo Women’s DIVISION

The work of the women behind those gorgeous Golden Mantillas brought directly from Spain.

Women Hermandades Escuela de Cristo

Marcia Palacios, 19 years old. She entered as a postulant at the age of 16, formally sworn in at the age of 18. photo by Eva Lepiz

People admire the beauty and splendor of La Antigua’s Semana Santa processions, but who’s behind working hard making this happen?  Certainly we have heard of Hermandades —organizations that prepare all year long organizing all the procession logistics— and yet another question comes up. Are there any women working at the Hermandades? Of course, there are!

Women Hermandades Escuela de Cristo

María Marta Beltranena former President of the Sisterhood. She worked for over 12 at the organization. Photo by Willy Posadas

Women of all ages, moved by their faith and devotion, enter every year to work as volunteers at Hermandades, some of them have been a part of this organizations for more than 40 years. Others start working as soon as they become of age at 18.  Sometimes they work as their mothers and grandmothers have done it before them.  Hermandad de la Escuela de Cristo has the largest number of women working inside.

Recognized by their gorgeous golden mantillas, brought directly from Spain, these women do an incredible job every year working in different activities aimed to promote the Catholic faith and  devotion to the consecrated images of Jesús Sepultado and María Santísima de Soledad, that are worshiped at Escuela de Cristo Church.

Activities can be divided in two: the preparation activities for the Holy Vigils and processions and the activities that take place on the day of the procession.

They also perform community service and charity activities.

Women Hermandades Escuela de Cristo

Cristina Bajan, is helping mantain the propper order at the procession. Photo by Eva Lepiz.

It is a difficult task to mantain the proper order at the procession because the Hermandad members have to guide over 3000 women devotees during a 12-hour journey.  There are no stops, no time for rest.

It is considered a privilege to lift the float from the floor, at the beginning of the procession, Victoria Arrivillaga as the woman in charge of the Sisterhood, women’s division, has the honor of  the float’s first guiding.

Women Hermandades Escuela de Cristo

Photo by Raul Touzon

It is also a great responsibility to guarantee the safety of the Virgin Mary image along the path.

Organizing a Procession is an expensive task, that is why, women’s division help raise fund by selling, souvenirs, typical food, raffles and other activities.

At the beginning of the procession every woman makes sure to hold the possition she’s been assigned to.

Everything must go according to plan, otherwise, it is necessary to inmediately solve any problem and move on.


REVUE magazine article by Hadazul Cruz, photos courtesy of Hermandad de la Escuela de Cristo

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