Formally known as La Morada de Nuestra Senora de Dolores del Alto
de Abiquiu, this image of the Penitente Morada at Abiquiu, New Mexico,
is located only a few hundred feet from the former home of Georgia O'Keeffe.
Built, by best estimations, in the late 1700's, it is a symbol of both
spiritual independence and spiritual conformity. The Hermanos Penitentes
— Brotherhood of the Penitent — established circa 1790,
were once comprised, in part, by some of the lowest strata of their
society, former Native American slaves called "genizaros."
The bond of the "Hermanos," or "Brothers,"
they claim is as strong as holy matrimony, exercising acts of benevolence
to address the needs of the communities in which they dwell, and taking
up the Cross of Christ (literally) and following Him.
Because of falsehoods and misunderstandings, the
Hermanos had essentially withdrawn from society at large, taking sanctuary
and privacy in the Southwestern states of northern New Mexico and southern
Colorado. In modern times, however, their brotherhood consists of more
mainstream Roman Catholic adherents.