2015 Winter Lecture Series

Los Hermanos Penitentes of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico:
A Non-Sensationalized Perspective

Ortega Penitentes composite

by Ernesto Ortega
National Park Service, Retired 

7 PM, Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Room 130 Porter Hall

Adams State University

  Much has been written of La Fraternidad Piadosa de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (The Pious Fraternity of our Father Jesus the Nazarene) of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado through the years. Thus, there have been many misinterpretations and misunderstanding of this historic Roman Catholic lay organization and its role in community life and relationships with its religious base, the Catholic Church, in these two geographical areas.
   Through this presentation, the speaker will share personal knowledge and historical perspectives of this oftentimes maligned and sometimes ridiculed religious organization that has persevered in the greater San Luis Valley and el norte de Nuevo México for two centuries.

About the Speaker

Ernesto W. Ortega: born and raised in La Madera, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. He is a graduate of New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM (B.A. 1967 History major and English/Speech minor and M.A. 1970 in History with an emphasis in the Spanish Colonial Period). Ortega taught English at East Las Vegas Junior High School (1967-1970) and English/Speech at Pojoaque High School (1970-1974). Ortega joined the National Park Service in 1974 and had assignments in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, South Dakota and Washington D.C. Ortega was active in the International Affairs Program of the National Park Service & Department of the Interior: he served as a consultant in park management, environmental protection and heritage preservation in Costa Rica, Venezuela, El Salvador, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico and Spain. After his retirement from the National Park Service (2004) he served as director of the Division of State Monuments in the NM Department of Cultural Affairs from October 2005 to March 1, 2010. 

He has been a member of the Fraternidad Piadosa de Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno (Pious Brotherhood of our Father Jesus the Nazarene) for 52 years.




The Colorado Field Institute is a nonprofit corporation organized in 2005 to promote greater stewardship of the natural and cultural resources within the San Luis Valley. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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