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Wooden sculptures and relief paintings of saints such as St. Francis, the Blessed Virgin, and Apostles of Christ have for centuries been objects of devotion and worship in the Southwest Catholic culture. This centuries-old heritage is celebrated here through photographs, essay, and literary quotes that beautifully bring the devotion into focus.

Crafting saints has always been seen as a high calling. These santeros and santeras (saint makers) created santos—images of saints, Christ, the Trinity, and Holy Family—painting them on wooden panels called retablos. They carved and painted wooden sculptures called bultos. And if they built a home chapel, they carved and painted an altar screen, or altar retablo, called a reredos, that was made up of smaller retablos and sometimes adorned with bultos.

John Annerino is the author and photographer of seventeen distinguished photography books and thirty-two single-artist calendars, including The Virgin of Guadalupe (Gibbs Smith), Ancient America, New Mexico Wild & Scenic, Arizona Wild & Scenic, and the awardwinning books Desert Light, Indian Country, Grand Canyon Wild, Canyons of the Southwest, The Wild Country of Mexico, and Roughstock: The Toughest Events in Rodeo (acclaimed by the Rodeo Hall of Fame). He lives in Tucson.

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