The arrival of a paved road can be a joyous event for isolated communities. In the case of the town of Tilaco in Mexico’s Sierra Gorda region, the arrival of a paved road was considered nothing short of a miracle.
Father Francisco Piñol Miracle, born and ordained in Spain, arrived at the Franciscan Mission of Tilaco in 1963, finding the 18th-century mission in a state of disrepair. Miracle spearheaded efforts to restore the mission, especially its highly elaborate Churrigueresque style facade. The work was greatly hindered because Tilaco was connected to nearby settlements by unpaved roads.
In 1964, Miracle and 100 inhabitants of Tilaco bought the dismantled components of a 1942 Chevrolet pick-up truck. Once reassembled and driven by its owner José Cortés, the truck began tracing a path that would eventually become the town’s first paved road. The road connected the town to the main population centers of the Sierra Gorda and Huasteca regions, such as Tamazunchale and Xilitla.
The truck, nicknamed “The Hurricane of the Sierra,” can now be found in a privileged location of Tilaco, near a statue of Miracle and the Franciscan mission he assisted in restoring. Thanks to the restoration and Tilaco’s accessibility, the mission is now one of five listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site that belongs to the Sierra Gorda Franciscan Missions. The mission was inscribed in 2003, a year before Miracle’s death.
To this day, many locals of Tilaco will refer to the works of Miracle, Cortés, and the Hurricane as “Father Miracle’s Miracle.”
Know Before You Go
Father Miracle Square is public and the Hurricane is visible at all times.