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The monk who designed Guadalupe’s Basilica


Shutterstock | Kiev.Victor

Daniel Esparza - published on 01/12/23

The Benedictine monk Gabriel Chávez de la Mora, who designed Guadalupe’s Basilica, died at the age of 93 last December 17.

Friar Gabriel Chávez de la Mora was a Mexican Benedictine monk who was conferred the Mexican National Architecture Award in 2020, and one of the main architects behind the design of the noted Guadalupe’s Basilica, theBasílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Mexico City.

Born in Guadalajara (Jalisco) in 1929, he began his studies in civil engineering at the School of Engineering of the University of Guadalajara in 1947 but the next year, as the School of Architecture opened, he changed his career, thus becoming part of the first generation of architects who graduated from said university.

Shortly after, in 1955, he would enter the Benedictine Monastery of Santa María de la Resurrección, in Morelos. His first work as an architect was the restoration of the chapel of this very same monastery.

Among his most remarkable works are the famous Basilica of Guadalupe, the Abbey of Tepeyac, and the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Vatican.

Fr. Chávez de la Mora died on December 17, 2022, in his monastery, while praying the liturgy of the hours.

The tallest cross in the world

As Jaime Septién explains in his article for the Spanish Edition of Aleteia, Fr. Chávez never stopped working. “Death found him,” Septién writes,” working on what would be the tallest cross in the world, the ‘Memorial of Mercy,’” currently being built in Monterrey

“Some of the commissions I was working on were affected by the pandemic, but others remained uninterrupted. In fact, I was supervising the works, remotely, for the Sanctuary of the Martyrs and the Memorial of Mercy,” Fr. Chávez said in an interview with the Mexican weekly journal Desde la Fe back in July 2021.

As Cynthia Fabila wrote in her article for Desde la Fe, “a pencil and a notebook, in addition to his faith, were Fray Gabriel Chávez de la Mora’s best friends for more than nine decades.”

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