Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Friday, September 9, 2016

El Santuario de Chimayo

Location: Storrie Lake State Park (el. 6,000 ft), Las Vegas, New Mexico

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone
Click pictures to enlarge

Last summer I was told about a church in New Mexico that I put on my list of things to see if I was ever in the area. Well, since I was in the area (less than 100 miles), I thought I was go see it. It was on the other side of the mountains to the west of the campground and was a nice 1 1/2 hour drive to get there.

A view to the west from my campsite

Headed to the mountains with the sky and clouds putting on another great show

This was after about a 2,000 foot climb. It looks more like the Smoky Mountains than the Rockies.

The clouds were great. I took this one to capture that unusual cloud just to the left of center. It was as if something/someone smudged it. It stayed that way for a little while before fading away. 

Looking out over the vast valley. Chimayo is out there somewhere and Santa Fe further out.

The name of the Catholic church is "El Santuario de Chimayo". Using the little bit of Spanish that I've picked up over the decades, I think that translates into "The Sanctuary in/at Chimayo". Chimayo is the name of the town where the church is located. It is a National Historic Landmark and has over 300,000 visitors per year. 

It is a simple church. I didn't go into the main building because there was a mass going on, but I didn't wander around the courtyard complex. 

Legend has it that a guy found a shiny crucifix in the dirt and took it to the local friar. The next day, it disappeared from the friars place and reappeared at the same location where it was originally found. This process repeated itself several times until the man and friar decided to just build a chapel/shrine/church on the location where it was found. Later on, legend has it that miraculous healings happened in the area of the church. A room to the side of the church was built with an approximate 2 foot diameter hole in the foundation. In the hole, is dirt that is supposed to have healing powers and people/pilgrims can scoop up some to take with them. From what I read, the dirt is replaced several times a day and over a year, 25 to 30 tons of dirt is used. 

This was a surprise. It is in the back courtyard and is a monument to vision that occured in Vietnam back in 1798.

This is the information for the Vietnam statue.

These are located along a walkway and stream. Homemade crosses mostly made out of sticks are attached to them. 

Someone had left a pair of baby shoes. I hope they found peace.
I took other pictures but didn't post them here because I wasn't sure if it would be proper. I don't want to offend Catholics or their religion. It was a peaceful place but with a sense of sadness in the background. I may go back when I do some exploring from my next campground. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.     


  1. From my high school Spanish days, I believe it is "of Chimayo" not "The Sanctuary in/at Chimayo"

  2. Thanks Gene, I figured it was something like that. I was close. :)

  3. Darrell, we are Catholic and if they allowed the pictures of the inside of the church, I don't know that anyone would be offended. I love to go to beautiful churches all over the country and many times have asked if they allow pictures after mass. Most appreciate the fact that I appreciate the beauty of the church. Just don't take picture of the actual mass and you are fine. Some are offended by that.

    1. Shawn,mainly I was concerned about pictures of several shrines in the courtyard. There were hundreds of pictures of people and alcoves where people left their rosaries and crucifixes. Those seemed to personal to post. I thought a long time before posting the pictures of the baby shoes.

  4. I thought it was such a beautiful peaceful place. We especially liked the Three Cultures Statue. Northern New Mexico is one of our favorite places and your photos of it are great. Travel safe.