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Getting Things Done Quickly in Mexico
Getting Things Done Quickly in Mexico

by Joseph Toone

If you drive out to Los Labradores, you will notice a new sign to the cloistered monastery. Instead of having an image of the monastery’s namesake, Mary of Solitude, the new sign features a lad dressed as a centurion from the year 200. He is St. Expedite (or Expeditus), the patron of getting things done fast and not procrastinating. He’s popular here in “Mañana Mexico.” Sure he is.

Little is known about St. Expedite other than he was a Roman soldier/martyr that died in April 303. Expedite wanted to convert to Christianity and as soon as he had made that decision the devil appeared before him in the form of a crow. The devil demanded that he delay his decision to join the Catholic faith until the next day. Expedite refused firmly, stating he would become a Christian today before crushing the crow beneath his foot.

His image features him holding up a cross stating the Latin for “Today,” as in, “Get it done today.” Beneath his feet lies a crow proclaiming the Latin for “tomorrow,” as in, “procrastinate.” He is much honored in campos for his ability to get things done fast. These are handy qualities in say a job hunt or court case, his specialties.

For centuries St. Expedite and his Type A personality were largely forgotten. Then, just before the French Revolution a group of Ursuline nuns at the Guadalupe Chapel in New Orleans received a shipment of saint statues from France. Two boxes were clearly labeled identifying the statues contained within. The third box simply held a statue of a centurion with “Expediate” written across the box. Of course, commonly this means “rush order.”

The nuns wrote the donor, but the French Revolution prevented any response. The nuns simply put the statue in their school. Still, quickly it becomes a favorite among the students under deadlines, thus igniting a new interest in St. Expedite.

The urgent matters for which someone starts his nine day novena (saying prayers) are frequently resolved by day three of the novena. But never stop a novena midway. It's bad form. Especially so close to his feast day, April 19.

For today’s computer nerds, he’s the saint invoked to spread computer posts, to make them go viral. Getting things done quickly in Mexico; yeah, there's an app or a saint for that.

On my tours I visit Our Lady of Solitude, a cloistered monastery in Atotonilco. Their chapel hosts a very popular image of St. Expedite loaded with milagros, or thanks, for his quick help. While there I like to chat up Fr. Jonas, which, his being a cloistered monk, requires more effort than you might think. Fr. Jonas has the brightest aura I’ve ever seen. He adores questions of St. Expedite. When I mentioned that the saint isn’t very popular in San Miguel, Fr. Jonas leaned in to whisper with a smile, “Well, there are a lot of things in San Miguel that aren’t very popular out here in the countryside.”

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Joseph Toone is Amazon's bestselling author of the San Miguel de Allende Secrets series of books and TripAdvisor's best rated historical walking tour guide. For more information contact toone.joseph@yahoo.com or visit History and Culture Walking Tours or JosephTooneTours.com, also on FaceBook.

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