Spiritual locations in Chimayó, New Mexico
"If you are a stranger, if you are weary from the struggles in life, whether you have a handicap, whether you have a broken heart, follow the long mountain road, find a home in Chimayó" - Poem inside the Santuario de Chimayó
Northern New Mexico's Catholic spiritual tradition arises from the Spanish saying, “Tiene uno que sufrir para merecer,” or “One must suffer to be worthy.” Chimayó is a prime example of this New Mexico spirit, which manifests in both private and public places throughout the community.
Santuario de ChimayóNew Mexico spirits, as well as those who arrive from afar on spiritual vacations, are rejuvenated here, where the Santuario de Chimayó's holy dirt works healing miracles every day. Each year, thousands make pilgrimage to Chimayó, the “Lourdes of America,” entreating Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas (Our Lord of Esquipulas) with prayers to alleviate their suffering from both minor and serious illnesses. The tiny shrine, which is dedicated to the legendary and miraculous return of a crucifix found by Bernardo de Abeyta in the early 1800s, features a small pit of sacred soil which is said to have curative powers.
In a small room connected to the chapel, a vast collection of crutches, splints and other medical devices left behind at the Santuario testifies to the healing powers of this sacred site. The picturesque adobe Catholic church, built on what legends say is a site sacred to Native American spirits, inspires visitors and residents alike, who also leave behind public affirmation of their faith in the form of crosses that decorate nearby trees, fences and walls.
Shrine of Santo Niño de AtochaSteps away from the Santuario de Chimayó sits the Shrine of Santo Niño de Atocha, also built in 1856 by Abeyta, who was one of the founders of the New Mexico Penitente Brotherhood. Even today, tens of thousands of individuals of every faith and lifestyle make a pilgramimage to Chimayó during Holy Week, walking along roadways and highways toward the community. Some travel on their knees, others carry heavy wooden crosses, and still others push relatives in wheelchairs—many from as far away as Old Mexico. The crosses the penitents carry remain behind in the fields around the Santuario.
While in the Santuario plaza, visit the new Bernardo Abeyta Museum to discover why the Chimayoso erected the church, learn more about the Penitente Brotherhood, and admire the traditional religious art created by New Mexican santeros (spiritual artists).
On the west side of the Plaza del Cerro (Old Plaza) near the Santuario is the small chapel constructed by Abeyta's son-in-law, Pedro Ortega, in the early 1800s. Originally built for family use, the Oratorio de San Buenaventura, or simply the Oratorio, quickly became a community treasure and alternative worship site for local residents. Acquired by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1963, and lovingly restored 30 years later, the Oratorio features a new bell, elegantly simple altar screens, and chandeliers which were the pattern for the Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe's guest room light fixtures.
Heritage Hotels & Resorts offers turnkey Northern New Mexico tours for religious and spiritual groups in partnership with professional tour operators. Contact us to discuss how we might personalize a spiritual vacation for your family or group.
For more on the Santuario de Chimayó, the Shrine of Santo Niño de Atocha, or the Penitente Brotherhood of Northern New Mexico, visit these sites:
- Archdiocese of Santa Fe -- www.archdiocesesantafe.org
- Santuario de Chimayó --http://www.elsantuariodechimayo.us
- Chimayó Association of Businesses -- chimayo.us/