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Desert Diary
History/San Miguel


Neither rain, wind, snow, or in this case mud—nothing was going to keep San Miguel from choosing his home. Or so goes a legend that most inhabitants of Socorro, just downstream from El Paso, have heard repeated time and again during their lifetimes. The story starts with the journey of the statue of San Miguel from deep in Mexico, destined for a home in the north. En route, while passing through the village of Socorro, the oxcart bearing the life-sized statute of the saint became mired in thick mud directly in front of the mission of Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepción de los Piros de Socorro del Sur. Not even three pairs of oxen could budge it. The townspeople could only conclude that the saint himself had chosen to remain among them.

Whether we choose to believe this legend or not is up to us, but the fact remains that the people of Socorro pulled together to collect money to purchase the statue, and it has been abiding at the mission since 1845.
pen and ink


Contributor: David Camarena, Student, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.



Anonymous. 1927. How Saint Michael chose not to run again in 1821. El Paso Times, 13 November.

Anonymous. 1938. Bishop denies plea for saint. El Paso Times, 7 May.

Anonymous. 1938. Saint's statue again to go to the fields. El Paso Herald Post, 30 September.

Anonymous. 1978. Mission is closed for repairs. El Paso Herald Post, 23 October.

Burrus, E. J. 1980. Socorro, Texas: An historical account. Unpublished manuscript, El Paso Public Library, El Paso, TX.

Waterhouse, E. 1932. Pictures of Socorro. Special Collections, El Paso Public Library, El Paso, TX.