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Inmaculado Corazón de María, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, in colonia Guerrero is more curious than you might think at first. Unusual for its neo-Gothic façade, that’s just the beginning. The church stands out pretty prominently from the surrounding Guerrero/Buenavista landscape.
The land for the temple was donated by Rafael Martínez de la Torre for whom the giant market is still named. For many years, the church was even known as the Church of Martínez de la Torre. The land had been part of the Colegio de Propaganda Fide de San Fernando. It was among the many large estates Martínez de la Torre owned, subdivided, and from which he profited handsomely.
Construction on the temple began in 1887. An engineer named José María Regó led the project. It was finished in 1902 with only one nave of the three planned actually completed. The church had become a parish of its own in 1895, having been administered by Santa María la Redonda until then.
The neo-Gothic church is one of very few in the City. Two parallel bell towers frame a giant rose window over a pointed arch. The façade was completed between 1940 and 1942. The stone columns of the church supported new iron arches.
Unfortunately, even with the modern 20th century arches, the 1957 earthquake badly damaged the church. Proper repairs were never made. When the 1985 earthquake hit, the nave collapsed and what remained was demolished. The only thing left was the façade and bell towers. Construction, of a rectory (which had begun in 1984), plus an auditorium and community center continued straight through the 1990s. A remodeling project began again in 2002. Finally in 2009, the parish returned the relics of martyrs and Saint Rafael Guizar y Valencia to the church.
Today, from the street, or even from the market just across the street, one can see the church body is not quite well matched with the striking façade. It’s a curious sight on your way to the Forum Buenavista, or the Vasconcelos Library. Today, the Inmaculado Corazón de María church’s patchwork appearance serves as a testament to the people’s sense of determination even in the face of adversity.