Framed Jesus Christ Calendar Print

15 Jesus Print.jpg

Title

Framed Jesus Christ Calendar Print

Subject

Catholic Church—Pictorial works
Jesus Christ—Iconography
Puerto Rican women

Description

 This item is a framed calendar print depicting Jesus Christ. Said print originated as part of a calendar manufactured in Añasco, Puerto Rico. Such religious iconography remained a common household item in many Puerto Rican Catholic items. Although such religious symbols were commonplace, these symbols often transcend their religious significance. In some cases, migrants to the US mainland from Puerto Rico brought treasured items with them, and in many cases these items would be all they possessed. For this print specifically, ideas of family, migration and identity converge in this very print and the significance it has to its owner.

 Luisa Mercado lived in Aguada, Puerto Rico for the first 26 years of her life before meeting and marrying José Mercedes Echevarria in Añasco in 1960. Immediately following their wedding, José left the island and traveled to the US mainland in search of economic opportunities that were unavailable in the rural, poverty-stricken community in which they both grew up. Eventually, he found work in Hartford, CT and Luisa later joined him there.

Luisa, like many married women who left Puerto Rico, would eventually return to visit friends and relatives. She followed the traditional route of recently married Puerto Rican women who were more likely to split their time between the United States mainland and Puerto Rico. She joined José in Hartford where, like many Puerto Ricans recently arrived in Connecticut, they both found work in the Windsor tobacco fields. Both came from rural, poverty-stricken villages and as a result, had few belongings. Luisa’s father-in-law gifted her with the print at their wedding and it was one of the few personal items Luisa took with her from Puerto Rico.

Luisa’s story mirrors that of many migrants from Puerto Rico, whose desire to escape from poverty often followed them to the United States. The print from her father-in-law was his wedding gift to her in part because he had little to no money for anything else. This print served not just as a reminder of her faith, but as a personal reminder and a tangible connection to the home that she had left behind, and the happy memory of her marriage.

Her experiences also follow a traditional gendered narrative, where women often would take on the responsibility of formulating a new community in their new home, while still maintaining ties to the island of their birth and their culture. Often these activities would be aided by churches. The Catholic Church would offer a space for Puerto Rican migrants to congregate and the help they provided expanded past religious services and provided events and a space for the community to congregate and forge social connections among individuals and groups. Such activities also span beyond the space of the church, when community members gathered in someone’s home to hold prayer sessions for a deceased individual that provide other events at which to socialize. Events such as these were planned and attended mostly by women, who bridged the barrier between their public and private lives and forged kinship bonds and social connections that were later reinforced by the gifting of personal items of religious significance.

This item showcases the role that religion and religious institutions play in the lives of the Puerto Rican community, especially in the lives of women like Luisa. The item also demonstrates how ideas about family, community and migration can be reflected in religious items.

Citations for Supplementary Sources and Context: 

Echevarria, David. Photograph of Jesus Christ Calendar Print, April 29, 2018.

Personal Collection of Luisa Echevarria, West Hartford.     

Fitzpatrick, Joseph P. Puerto Rican Americans: The Meaning of Migration to the Mainland. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1971.

Glasser, Ruth. Aquí me quedo: Puerto Ricans in Connecticut. [Middletown, Conn.]: Connecticut Humanities Council, 1997.

Glasser, Ruth. “Tobacco Valley: Puerto Rican Farm Workers in Connecticut,” Connecticut Explored, 2002.

Ortiz, Vilma. "Migration and Marriage among Puerto Rican Women." The International Migration Review 30, no. 2 (1996): 460-84.

Entry Author: Chelsea Echevarria

Creator

Unknown Artist

Source

Personal Collection of Luisa M. Echevarria

Publisher

Luisa M. Echevarria

Date

Accession Date: April 29, 2018

Contributor

David and Luisa Echevarria

Rights

Copyright to this resource is held by Luisa M. Echevarria and is here for educational purposes only.

Format

.JPG Image File

Language

N/A

Type

Still Image

Identifier

History Harvest 2018, Object #15.

Coverage

New Britain, CT; Hartford, CT; Connecticut; Puerto Rico; United States; 1960; 1960s; 2018; 2010s; 20th century; 21st century.

Original Format

Framed color print photograph.

Collection

Citation

Unknown Artist, “Framed Jesus Christ Calendar Print,” Latino History Harvest, accessed July 13, 2024, https://library.ccsu.edu/latinohistoryharvest/items/show/64.

Output Formats