The amazingly rich vein of silver discovered in the mine of La Valenciana provided Antonio de Obregon y Alcocer with more than enough wealth to commission a major church in honor of his patron saint, San Cayetano.
The Churrigueresque church perched above the city of Guanajuato was constructed of cantera rosa, pink volcanic stone, between 1765 and 1788. The second tower either collapsed or was never built, perhaps because the original architect died before the church was completed. Three enormous gilded altars reflect the profits mined nearby.
San Cayetano (1480-1547) was not a fan of wealth, however. In fact he turned his back on greedy clergymen he encountered in Rome and worked in Vicenzia, Italy, for reform of the church. Becoming a priest at age 33, he distributed his riches to the poor. He dedicated himself to helping the lower classes and those in need of work. To combat usurious lenders preying on the poor, he founded a charitable organization accepting pawned objects in exchange for loans.
As San Cayetano is regarded as a patron saint of laborers, he probably comforted the miners. He is considered the saint to answer prayers for pan y trabajo.
Struggling to land a job? Maybe it’s time for a pilgrimage to La Valenciana to light a candle to San Cayetano.