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Gauchito Gil: the popular saint

El Gauchito Gil, a popular saint with thousands of shrines throughout the country, has believers who make their promises in exchange for miracles.


Antonio Mamerto Gil Núñez, popularly known as Gauchito Gil, has become a reference in Argentine culture. He was born in Pay Ubre, a town near Mercedes, in the province of Corrientes.

The reconstruction of history that makes it a popular religious figure is difficult. The versions about his life are different, but they all end on the same point: death. The first version speaks of the Gauchito Gil as a rustler who disputed the same woman with the boss of local police. This dispute led him to move away and enlist in the War of the Triple Alliance. Then he participated in the Correntina civil war against the Party Liberal. The legend is built there, after the desertion. Antonio Gil Nuñez is captured, hung from a carob by deserter and was to be executed.

Gauchito Gil told his executioner that after that I would have to pray to him that when he came home he would find his son sick. The Gauchito is cut throat, and what he had announced happened. The officer, at the come home, found his son sick. He prayed to Gauchito Gil and the boy was miraculously recovered. The same officer made sure that the Gauchito had an appropriate burial and the message of the miracle spread.

The second version also talks about a deserter from the war, but he was also blamed for other crimes. The end is the same, with the miracle of the saved child and the officer's request for forgiveness to the Gauchito Hey, Gil. The third version shows him as a looter who was captured and Slashed his throat near Mercedes.

The Faith

The miracle was mouth-to-mouth winning believers. It didn't matter whether for some it was a raised rustler, a vigilante gaucho or a Correntino Robin Hood. His power for people has no categories: his believers ask him for health, money, love or miracles. They fully believe that the Gauchito Gil grants everything.

Legend has crossed provincial boundaries. In Corrientes is revered more than 100 years ago, and the cult has spread to all the country. There is no place, from Jujuy to Tierra del Fuego, where there is no sanctuary for the Gauchito Gil.

The cult, color and ribbons

Red color is attributed to him for his liberal position, and all what you leave is usually red. To order something from Gauchito Gil, you need to write on a red ribbon and leave it for the night. On a branch of a tree, in a wire or a stick nailed to the ground. A candle is also lit red and, with a ribbon of the same color or a rosary, a prayer is made. Some say that when crossing each shrine in a vehicle, one must touch horn to greet Gauchito Gil.

Publication Date: 23/01/2020

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