By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"Thanks to God and Malverde, there's something for everyone," he says. "Not much, but something. Little by little we've built this. Before it was just tiny. People have put in a lot of faith. If there's no faith, there's no miracles."
Faith is what Gloria has.
Before her pilgrimage is done, she crosses the street to a pile of pebbles and stones in the middle of what is now an insurance company parking lot. The sign from a nearby McDonald's stands high overhead.
Malverde was supposedly hung here. One legend says that soldiers wouldn't allow Malverde's remains to be buried, so people stood at a distance and threw pebbles on him until he was covered. Hence the pebble tradition.
Gloria's heard the lot owner has tried to move the pebbles but that the tractor keeps mysteriously breaking down. From her purse she takes out a vial containing a pebble and some cloudy water. "Two years ago I took this pebble from the grave. Now I'm returning it," she says.
Who knows what travels the other pebbles have made.