One Year: 1977

Season 1: Episode 7

Jesus on a Tortilla

How a burn mark in the shape of Christ changed a family.


Episode Notes

After Maria Rubio saw Jesus on a tortilla, her family got besieged by believers and gawkers and the national press. But for the Rubios, the tortilla wasn’t just a public spectacle. It was the miracle that changed their family. And decades later, they’re still reckoning with how that tortilla upended everything.

One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob.

Sources for This Episode

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Brandi, John. “Everyday Miracles,” Reflections in the Lizard’s Eye: Notes from the High DesertWestern Edge Press, 2000.


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Bullock, Alice and Jeff Moscow, “I Have Seen the Wall,” Santa Fe New Mexican, Aug. 3, 1975.

Cattan, Leyla. “Cristo en la tortilla,” Arizona Daily Star, Dec. 26, 1979.

Chriss, Nicholas C. “Thousands View ‘Jesus on a Tortilla,’ ” Los Angeles Times, July 23, 1978.

Coats, Jack. “Image of Christ Turns Home Into Shrine,” Albuquerque Journal, Jan. 1, 1978.

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Garcia, Uriel J. “‘Tortilla Miracle’ Brought Hope and Mockery to N.M. Family,” Santa Fe New Mexican, July 8, 2017.

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O’Connor, Priscilla. “Hundreds Flock to See Image on Flour Tortilla,” Artesia Daily Press, Oct. 12, 1977.

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“The Pecos—River of Hard-Won Dreams,” National Geographic, September 1993.

Ring, R.H. “Tortilla With Face of Jesus Remains Enshrined While Family Struggles,” Arizona Daily Star, June 27, 1983.

Rubio, Angelica. “Christ on the Comal,” Eater, April 23, 2019.

Sims, Judith. “The Amazing Ricky Jay,” Ampersand, April 1981.

Smith, Toby. “The Face in the Flour,” Impact: Albuquerque Journal Magazine, Dec. 22, 1987.

Smith, Toby. “Other Places, Other Faces,” Impact: Albuquerque Journal Magazine, Dec. 22, 1987.

Szymanski, Rebekah. “A-maize-ing Grace in New Mexico; Holy Tortilla,” National Catholic Reporter, Aug. 11, 1978.

“Thousands Have Visited Shrine of Holy Tortilla,” United Press International, June 7, 1982.

Williams, Richard. “Face in Tortilla Brought ‘Miracle,’ ” Albuquerque Tribune, Nov. 6, 1982.


Rubio, Angelica. The Tortilla Kid,

Slate Plus Member Content Bonus Episode

The Blockbusters and Oddities of 1977 Film

Sam Adams and Karen Han on the 1977 movies that still influence art today.


About the Show

The people and struggles that changed America—one year at a time. In each episode, host Josh Levin explores a story you may have forgotten, or one you’ve never heard of before. What were the moments that transformed politics, culture, science, religion, and more? And how does the nation’s past shape our present?

The first season of One Year focuses on 1977, a year when gay rights hung in the balance, Roots dominated the airwaves, and Jesus appeared on a tortilla.

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