29th October 2021
Her Excellency The Mexican Ambassador, Josefa Gonzalez Blanco, visits the Garden of Remembrance to gift a statue of La Catrina, the Mexican skeleton lady who embodies the spirit of The Day of the Dead. The Mayor of Southwark and other local dignataries were there to welcome her. This personal message was read to her:
Katy and I are very sorry we can’t be here to welcome you in person today.
Thank you for your generous gift of La Catrina. She will enhance Cross Bones Graveyard as a sacred place and a sanctuary.
‘The Southwark Mysteries’ and our 25 years of working to reclaim and restore Cross Bones were inspired by local medieval folk-religion and shaped by many different cultural traditions.
The creation of the shrine to the outcast dead at the gates and the Mary shrine were strongly influenced by our visits to Mexico, and by the way the spirituality of the people is expressed in the traditions of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, the Day of the Dead and Santa Muerte.
We hope your interest in Cross Bones will continue and deepen. The support of the Mexican Embassy will help protect and promote Cross Bones as a place of pilgrimage. It will also powerfully underpin the excellent work of Bankside Open Spaces Trust to maintain this beautiful garden of remembrance.
If you were able to find a time next year, we’d be delighted to come up to London to meet to tell you more about the work at Cross Bones and its deep connections with Mexican culture.
With very best wishes,
John and Katy
The Shrine to the Outcast at Cross Bones was strongly influenced by Dia de los Muertos and other cultural traditions which enriched and informed our work to reestablish a native tradition to honour the spirits of the Ancestors. So we’re delighted that the Mexican Ambassador is now a strong supporter of Cross Bones Garden of Remembrance. La Catrina now has her own coffin-shelter (based on Lucy’s research into the Cross Bones burials), with her back to our Red Cross Mary shrine and facing the other way. So our guardians can now cover all angles – and watch each other’s backs!
La Catrina, and Mary, can now be seen in the Cross Bones garden. Check with bost.org.uk for current opening times.)
Some ‘authentic’ folk-traditions are born of open-hearted cultural cross-fertilisation.