Pascual Bailon (1540-1592) was born, in May of 1540 in Torre Hermosa, Aragon, Spain. In his youth he was a sheep herder and was often seen praying in the pastures. His faith led him to the Franciscan monastery in Loreto. Because he was uneducated, the friars would only accept him to do menial tasks such as cooking. His devotion to his faith and kindness of heart to the poor made him beloved by all. San Pascual is the patron saint of cooks and the kitchen. He is especially loved in New Mexico. I have depicted him here preparing a traditional New Mexican meal for his Franciscans. He is making homemade tortillas and green chile. His kitchen cat is happily feeding her litter of kittens.
San Pascual is my favorite saint to paint because of my love and memories of my Grandma Reynalda Almeida. She lived in a little adobe casita near Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The heart of my Grandma's home beat in the kitchen. As we drove to her home down the little hill street of Camino Sin Nombre, my heart fluttered in anticipation. She always had a pot simmering on the stove and open arms ready for her children and grandchildren. The rich smell of red chile would permeate the house while my Grandma would push my small hands into a floury bowl of tortilla dough. It is with her in mind and in my heart that I paint San Pascual.
Victoria de Almeida
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Santa Fe, New Mexico
March 27th, 2013
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