Sunday, December 21, 2014

El Santuario de Chamayo and Christmas Miracles

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Chamayo, New Mexico, stands the El Santuario de Chimayo Catholic Church.  Built in 1816, it is one of New Mexico's treasures.

Built of adobe with a bell tower on each side, the chapel is 60 feet long and 24 feet wide, with walls more than three feet thick. You enter through the  adobe courtyard, after first walking up a gravel path with cotton wood trees on the right side and a wire fence on the left.  On the fence are twisted many handmade crosses and many bits of paper with humble requests, messages in spiritual bottles.

With many retablos and other folk art lining the walls on both sides of the chapel, it is a mini art museum of Mexican art glorifying God and the many saints that are part of the Catholic religion.

The church is a glimpse of the past, but the main attraction for many is the "miracle dirt."  Clay has been known through the centuries for its healing powers, and in a small side room off the pacito, or a pit containing "miracle dirt."  Yes, they do replenish the dirt from the nearby hills and one can purchase a small container or use your own to scoop up a bit of "miracle dirt" to take home.  The dirt is believed to be blessed and is used to rub on troubled parts of ones body.  In an adjacent room are crutches and testimonials of those who ascribe  their healing to the miracle dirt.  There is a legend concerning the miracles of its origin.

The power of belief is strong and walking through the church there is a sense of peace and tranquility.

May you have a peaceful and healthy 2015 and perhaps experience a miracle or two of your own.  And a special wish for peace for my Ukrainian friends.

Charles Sargent. photographer


  1. Hi Natasha. Are you telling me that they get snow in New Mexico? Now that's a miracle!
    Wishing you and your family a peaceful and prosperous Christmas and New Year.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

  2. It is one of my favorite states and only 6 hours driving time from here. Not only does it have the famous church, but an area, Bandelier National Monument, Cliff Dwelling peoples 1150 CE - 1550 CE. An area which is also possible to visit within one day and then there is Los Alamos. So in one day's drive you can go from 1150 to 19th Century to the Atomic age. Santa Fe is beautiful in the winter and at Christmas especially. Thank you for your Christmas wishes and I wish you and your family the same.

  3. Hi Natalie .. have a very peaceful Christmas and I certainly hope the best for Ukraine and will think of those there ... I love the idea of the Adobe Church .. must be beautiful to see ... lovely .. with thoughts and I hope you can rejuvenate and have an easier 2015 .. cheers Hilary

  4. Someday, perhaps I can convince my beloved to take a trip to NM. This Church would certainly be a stopping place.

  5. There is something for everyone there. I think I will do a blog on Santa Fe in a week or two. If your husband is the outdoors type, great hiking trails. Interesting art galleries, food is good. Willa Cather's "Death Comes to the Archbishop," is an interesting novel which outlines the history of New Mexico, and not always the positive part. Thanks for your comment.