Every October the Peruvian community in Hartford gather at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Hartford. After mass, The Brotherhood of the Lord of Miracles (HESMIPERU), a religious fraternity organized locally in 1968, holds a solemn procession through the streets of its revered statue of the Lord of Miracles and Our Lady of Sorrows born by members of the Brotherhood. The group, which includes a women’s auxiliary and office holders, organizes social as well as religious events in the community.
The origins of the Lord of Miracles date back to the mid 17th century. An Angolan slave painted a dark-skinned Christ on a wall near Lima. The image sustained through attempts by the hierarchy to destroy it, and a massive earthquake that demolished surrounding buildings but left the wall.
During the whole month of October, known as the mes morado, or purple month - observations take place to honor the patron saint, whose color is purple. The main event takes place on the 18th - a procession in which hundreds of thousands of Peruvians dressed in purple sing and pray while accompanying the patron's image for a 24 hour trek. The wooden platform that carries the image is completely covered with silver and gold, and weights more than a ton. It is carried on the shoulders of the "Pachacamilla Christ Brotherhood".
The second largest Latino group in Connecticut are the Peruvians. Approximately 3000 live in the greater Hartford area, with close to 30,000 throughout Southern New England. The first Peruvian Club in Hartford was formed in 1966. Trinity College radio has long run a Peruvian music program. The Peruvian Consulate established an office in Hartford in 2002. Several Peruvian restaurants across the state serve a variety of regional cuisines, and two Peruvian newspapers publish in Connecticut. Peruvian community members work in both service industry and white-collar jobs. A prominent organization that began as a Hartford association of professionals from the Ancash region has developed into the Association of Peruvian American Professionals.
Audio slideshow produced by Catie Talarski. Photos and audio from the 2008 procession, Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford.