Cuautla Church

Morelos, Mexico | C.1950

Photo Credit: @covidmx

Cuautla, or “where the eagles roam,” is a city about sixty-five miles south of Mexico City, noted for its role in the Mexican Revolution (1910–20). Over a decade before the start of the revolution, newly orphaned and still in his teens, the revolutionary Emiliano Zapata took part in a protest among the peasants of his hometown against the owners of the hacienda (plantation) who had taken over their land. At the age of thirty-two, he was inspired by Francisco Madero’s call to revolt against President Porfirio Díaz and the country’s unbalanced system. Zapata quickly became the leader of the peasant uprising in the state of Morelos.

He arrived at Cuautla in March of 1911, surrounding the city with several thousand troops and launching the weeklong Battle of Cuautla. The battle forced a pivot in the Mexican Revolution, causing President Díaz to sign the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez. Shortly after, he resigned.

Three presidents and eight years later, leaving a legacy of resistance, Zapata was assassinated in Chinameca, his body ultimately returned to Cuautla for a hero’s burial.

Where there has been war, there will be churches—where so many turn for explanations, for healing, and for community. Cuautla underscores this reality, with its twenty-two registered Catholic churches. Among them is the stunning Parroquia de la Medalla Milagrosa, a Roman Catholic sanctuary where masses are celebrated daily in the neighborhood of “Emiliano Zapata.”

📖 Featured on Page 75 of AWA, The Book 

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