Just before I closed and locked the doors three weeks ago, I took a long-postponed trip to Taos, Florida which is just outside of Fruitville where my studio is. I have been meaning to visit the now-deserted St. Corona Mission, founded by Italian nuns around the time of DeSoto. St. Corona, is widely venerated as the saint to turn to in times of pestilence and violent storms. She is particularly popular in northern Italy, Austria and southern Germany, where St Corona churches and chapels abound and there are several St Corona pilgrimages. It is not uncommon to find women and girls named Corona in these regions.
Anyway, Taos and the St. Corona Mission are on no maps that I know of and it was difficult to find them. After two abortive treks down trails through Myakka State Park that locals swore would lead to the Mission, I finally literally tripped over the old poor box, which must have been dragged out of the vestibule. It’s a remarkable place and surprisingly similar in form and spirituality to the San Francisco de Asís Mission Church in Rancho de Taos, New Mexico, although the one in the Land of Enchantment has been preserved and is considered an historical landmark – and mecca for photographers of the Southwest.
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