“In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” a chant familiar to every school-aged child in the United States. Well, let us hope that this is still the case! It marks the event, of course, in which the Italian-born navigator, Christopher Columbus, departed from Spain and discovered the Americas. An event of enormous magnitude on so many levels, particularly for Christianity: It enabled the indigenous peoples in this new continent to receive the faith for the first time.
Columbus’ discovery opened the pathway for scores of others to explore the New World. One of these was the Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés. After he and his Indian allies conquered the Aztec Empire in 1521, the evangelization of Mexico by Spanish missionaries began in earnest. Mexico would eventually become one of the most Catholic of countries and hundreds of churches, monasteries, and convents would be built in the ensuing years.
One of these churches is that of La Enseñanza (pictured above), which is located in the central historical district of Mexico City. It is considered one of the most beautiful in the city and is a prime example of the Churrigueresque style of architecture, a style unique to Spain and Latin America, particularly Mexico.