On the long ride we were on to Torres, we traveled a rural road that I have dubbed the "the Saints Rd". There were quite a few places where local legend had caught fire with the people of Patagonia, and the sacrificed people of this area had become saints. The Catholic church has ignored this, because of course, they need to be in charge of who or whom is a recognized saint. While Difunta Correa is not officially recognized, literally thousands of people pay homage to this woman who sacrificed her life for her child. During a Chilean conflict, she was looking for her husband and and got lost. She died of dehydration, but when searchers found her, her baby was still alive, nursing at her breast. She became a hero and then a "saint" to everyone in Chile. People come from all over to pray for miracles and also bring bottles of water as an offering. It is a strange sight to travel along the road and see a huge area of plastic water bottles....."caps off, so she can drink the water". It looks gross, but it is so real many people of this area. We stopped and 2 of our group were chosen to bring bottles to the offering.
Gauachito was a different story. He was hung by the opposing military for doing something he did not do. Before he died, he told the officer who captured him, that the officer 's son would become very sick, but if the officer prayed to El Gauachito for forgiveness and help, the son would recover. Instead of water, patrons offer beer, whiskey, cigarettes, girly magazines......I was handed a can of beer, unopened, and asked to make 2 specific wishes, and then open the can of beer and offer it to Gauachito. One wish had to be for the group, and one wish had to be personal. So far, neither has materialized, but the trip is not quite over. I may have jinxed it by trying to take a sip from the can(well, it was a hot day!), but our guide screamed for me to stop...and please respect the saint "Gauachito Gil". Gauchito has a huge following and growing each year for people wanting miracles and afraid of jinxes.