Goliad to celebrate Hispanic culture, models in 1946 fresco

Sara  Sneath By Sara Sneath

April 30, 2014 at 8:02 p.m.
Updated May 1, 2014 at 12:01 a.m.

Goliad and representatives of its sister city, Hidalgo, Mexico, will celebrate Mexican heritage and pride this weekend during the annual Zaragoza Cinco de Mayo celebration.

"My pride is in the fact that our direct ancestors were the founders of this great part of Texas," said Hernan Jaso, a member of Goliad Zaragoza Society.

In addition to live Tejano music and ballet folklorico, a special presentation Sunday with U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela will honor the two models of the 1946 fresco of the Annunciation by Corpus Christi artist Antonio Garcia on the wall of Presidio La Bahia's Our Lady of Loreto Chapel.

"They're not just models. They're living here among us," Jaso said.

Mary Flores, 85, of Goliad, was picked by her priest to model for the artist's rendition of the Virgin Mary when she was 17. Garcia went to Flores' house every day after school for three or four days in a row, she said. Afterward, Garcia gave Flores a signed sketch he made of her, which her family still has.

Garcia's depiction of the angel Gabriel, the angel who told Mary she would conceive the son of God, was based off Flores' brother-in-law, Guadalupe Flores, 85, of Goliad.

Despite the fact that Garcia's depiction of Gabriel has six toes on his left foot, Flores said he only has five toes on each foot.

The models' histories with Presidio La Bahia extend beyond the faces that remain on the church's wall of the 17-year-old versions of themselves. Mary Flores later married a man who would become the groundskeeper and caretaker of the priests at Our Lady of Loreto Chapel. And Guadalupe Flores' mother was the cook for the priests.

The late Katherine O'Connor also will be recognized by the congressman Sunday for her monetary donations to restoration efforts at the Presidio.

"Not only did Katherine O'Connor donate to the financial side, but also it was built by people from La Bahia rock by rock. We take pride in that," Jaso said.



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