Madame Mateja Maura
Madame Mateja Maura was born in Haiti with a birthmark on her face. While her parents considered this a gift from God, her paternal grandmother, Andromeda, saw it differently. She offered to tend Mateja so her fine son and his wife could enjoy an evening to themselves while she attempted to release her precious granddaughter from the mark of the Devil. When the parents returned, Andromeda had used lye to restore her granddaughter to the way surely God had intended, leaving the tortured Mateja with a disfigurement that would last a lifetime.
As Mateja moved through the years, many showed compassion and support and many made fun and turned away. She became extremely perceptive and sensitive to how others viewed her. With age, she came to realize that whether something is good or bad rests largely in the eye of the beholder. She came to value how she viewed things with her own eyes, and secretly began a study of voodoo arts to subtly press her own will into her surroundings with the use of ceremonial dolls and colored pins.
Mateja’s parents disapproved of her practices, comparing it to the misguided beliefs that led Andromeda to horrifically scar their poor little one. Mateja knew in her heart it was nothing of the sort. She had simply learned to take up space in the world to which she was entitled, and that her parents and so many others were afraid to do so. She yearned to help others find their voices and discover the possible extent of their influence. In time, she moved to New Orleans and set out to find a way…