The town of Espinazo, Nuevo Leon has changed over the years much like the Fidencista Movement. More recently, Espinazo has traversed the boundaries of Nuevo León and has crossed the U.S. – México Border.
The life, time, and places of the healer of Espinazo, Nuevo León, México, El Niño Fidencio, were magnificently captured with the magic of the lens of the camera and the artistic eye of photographers of the time. Only a handful of these photographs may presently be made available via the El Niño Fidencio Research Project for informational and educational purposes.
These copies of prints of the impressive revelations were introduced and made available to Dr. Antonio N. Zavaleta by the late America Lopez de la Fuente de Ybarra in the late 1980s. These photographs taken during the time that El Niño Fidencio was alive provides a historical record of events in the life of Mexico’s most famous curandero.
After Fidencio’s death in 1938, his memory and spirit are still revered. Today, Fidencio’s following honors him with two fiestas annually, in March and in October each year. More recent photographs, depict sites considered sacred and visited year-round by the Fidencistas.
The oldest and most revered site second only to the actual tomb of El Niño Fidencio is the California Pepper tree where the spiritual transformation of El Niño Fidencio took place.
When Fidencio was alive, between the months of April and September, he would take the masses a few kilometer east of Espinazo to a hot spring called Puerto Blanco.
He would have the crowds bathe in these waters, (Charco Azul), a pool of water stemming from underground natural spring water.
Another method Fidencio used for the blessing, healing, and entertaining the large numbers that would come to him for reasons concerning…
La Dicha de la Santa Cruz
The, “Dicha de la Santa Cruz”, good fortune of the saintly cross-site today in Espinazo. When Fidencio was alive, there were two corrals in this area.
Fidencio had the mental patients placed in one corral temporarily while the time arrived during the day to treat and “heal” them. When the time came, he would go or have someone, usually, a family member brings the mental patient to a room in the house where he would then go in with his cougar, (named Concha), and a few moments later the mental patient would come out of the room healed and well.
Fidencio had the ill with leprosy, (men and women together), placed in the second corral and would boil the medicine on the spot and have them drink that with which most with leprosy would “heal” and become well in a few days told say Fidencio would boil lizards, snakes, spiders, bugs, and herbs to heal those with leprosy.
Dr. Tony Zavaleta grew up in Brownsville and is a member of one of the 13 founding families of northern Mexico. He is the nephew of Dr. Joe Zavaleta and Prax Orive, each of whom served on the TSC Board.
Dr. Zavaleta graduated from Saint Joseph Academy in 1964 and entered Texas Southmost College, graduating and transferring to The University of Texas at Austin in 1966, where he completed a Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1976. Moving back to Brownsville in 1976, Dr. Zavaleta began teaching sociology and anthropology at Texas Southmost College and at Pan American University at Brownsville. Dr. Zavaleta became the first Dean of the College of Liberal Arts for UTB/TSC, and also served as the Dean of the College of Mathematics and Science and Technology. He next served as Vice President for Partnership Affairs, where he coordinated all of the work between the TSC Board and UTB, and then became the Vice President for External Affairs, which included governmental relations and all external programs such as Workforce Training and Continuing Education. Dr. Zavaleta served as Interim Provost, the chief operating officer of UTB/TSC, and then as the Associate Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. In 2011 he retired from the administration to return to full-time teaching. Dr. Zavaleta retired in May 2016 after 40 years of service.
Dr. Zavaleta is regarded as one of the top experts on the US-Mexico Border, and frequently speaks throughout Mexico and the U.S. Dr. Zavaleta was appointed to two Federal commissions by Presidents Reagan and Obama, and he served two terms on the Brownsville City Commission, followed by a term on the City of Brownsville Civil Service Commission.