One Year

Season 1: Episode 7

Jesus on a Tortilla

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

Illustration depicting a female with a microphone

Listen longer

Slate Plus members get ad-free versions of all Slate podcasts, plus extra segments, bonus episodes, and more. Try it today for just $1.

Join Slate Plus
Advertisement

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

Arellano, Gustavo. Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, Scribner, 2012.

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

Articles

Arellano, Gustavo. “The 10 Most Important Burritos in Burrito History,” OC Weekly, May 22, 2014.

Black, Arthur. “Beauty and Belief, It Appears, Are in the Eye of the Beholder,” Windsor Star, July 27, 1987.

Brandi, John. “Mrs. Rubio’s Miracle,” El Palacio Magazine, Summer 1979.

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.

“Face of God Is on Flour Tortilla; Lake Arthur Woman Claims,” Artesia Daily Press, Oct. 10, 1977.

“Family Convinced of Power in Tortilla,” Associated Press, Nov. 8, 1982.

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

Greene, Bob. “Jesus on a Tortilla: Making of a Miracle?”, Chicago Tribune, July 11, 1978.

Greene, Bob. “Pilgrimage to See the Miraculous Tortilla,” Chicago Tribune, Oct. 9, 1978.

Long, Karen Haymon. “Thousands Witness Modern Miracles,” Tampa Tribune, July 16, 1988.

Mannweiler, David. “Tortilla Tale Too Torturous?”, Indianapolis News, Nov. 1, 1978.

“The Miraculous Tortilla,” Newsweek, Aug. 14, 1978.

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

O’Connor, Priscilla. “Pastors Quiet on Apparition,” Artesia Daily Press, Oct. 19, 1977.

“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.

Blog

Rubio, Angelica. The Tortilla Kid, https://thetortillakid.com/.

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.

Advertisement

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.

All episodes

Host