Despite the city of Santa Rosa in Guadalupe County having heavy Catholic influence in its founding, including that of Saint Rose of Lima, some who have been attacking Ten Commandments statues across the country are coming for images of Santa Rosa and Our Lady of Guadalupe in the small city of around 3,000 next.
A local resident, Herman Baca, reportedly “donated the painting [of Santa Rosa], by a Peruvian artist, to City Hall — where it hung for about 24 hours in the spring before calls to take it down prompted its removal.”
Baca also donated a monument of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the city, which was planned to be placed on a city-owned lawn a block from City Hall.
Santa Rosa de Lima is the patron saint of embroidery, gardening, and the cultivation of blooming flowers. She is also the first saint born in the Americas to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.
Mayor Nelson Kotiar placed the image of Santa Rosa in City Hall, but after an outcry from some residents, it was removed.
The Santa Fe New Mexican writes, “[Kotiar] noted a painting of Santa Rosa hangs in the county courthouse, and no one raises a fuss about it. Nor has anyone complained about a small bust of St. Joseph he displays in his office, he said.”
Attorney Andy Schultz, who helped rip down a Ten Commandments monument in Bloomfield, told the New Mexican, “The current status of the Establishment Clause jurisprudence is a mess,” while claiming conflicting case law makes the Catholic icons’ presence in Santa Rosa’s City Hall difficult.
“I am a devout Catholic and pray to Mary every single day, but that’s not where the painting belongs,” claimed gift shop owner Luisa Chappell.
“It’s an interesting question, right?” said State Historian Rob Martinez “We have so many Spanish and Mexican names [of towns and counties] that are shod through Roman Catholicism.” While some people may protest placing religious icons on public property, he said, “Locals say, ‘What’s the big deal? We’ve been doing Catholic imagery for centuries.’ ”
Many others see the monument of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the image of Santa Rosa as a big boost to the city’s identity and attractiveness to tourism, as well as paying homage to the historical events that led to the city of Santa Rosa’s creation.