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El Hermano

El HERMANO is an excellent addition to New Mexico literature. Congratulations! —Rudolfo Anaya, author Bless Me Ultima

Between the world wars in the remote mountain hamlets and villages of New Mexico, their religious well-being was looked after by a Cofraidía, a brotherhood, also known as Penitentes for their austere rituals and practices, some of which were done in secret.

El Hermano takes place during the forty days of Lent in 1928 as José and his cousins conspire to spy on one of the Brotherhood’s secret rituals to see what lies ahead for them as novices. José knows his time to join the Cofradía (of which his own father is Hermano Mayor) is near, but having seen Hermanos who appear to be in pain after a night spent at the Morada, a meeting house and chapel, and having heard stories about those who even died in the past because of whatever went on within the sacred structure, his fear guides him to join his cousins in their clandestine scheme. Little do they know, certain New Mexican legends conspire against them; La Muerte warns José to leave his future unknown, a ball of fire thought to be a witch crosses their path, and even la Llorona and el Diablo make an appearance. Interwoven in José’s story are customs and folklore common to Hispanics even today—the age-old cures for empachado and ojo, which combine with traditions of the past: formal letters required in asking for the bride and giving the infant to padrinos for baptism.

About the Author: Carmen Baca is the daughter of the real life José of the story. As the Cofradia members died off or moved away after the War, the morada was left unused on her family property. Carmen recovered artifacts from the Morada, including her father’s prayer book, from which, along with her memories, she based this story.






El Hermano
by Carmen Baca

236 pages, 6 x 9” 6 photographs $16.95



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126 Candelario St. Santa Fe NM 87501 

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