I really enjoy historical sites and visiting El Santuario de Chimayo in Chimayo, New Mexico completely satisfied my thrust for ancient history.
My interest in this Church was the small pit of Holy Dirt that can be found in back of the Church. Many believe that the Holy Dirt possesses natural healing powers. I wish I had pictures of the area where the Holy Dirt sits but I was not allowed to take photos in the santuary.
Here’s the story about the Church and the Holy Dirt:
In 1810 (on Good Friday), Don Bernardo Abeyta, a member of the Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jesus el Nazareno, was walking through the hills, praying and reflecting. He saw a light coming from the ground and went to investigate. When he arrived at the spot, he dug and discovered a crucifix. He told the neighbors and they gathered around to venerate it. Soon, the priest at Santa Cruz (Fr. Sebastian Alvarez) came and carried the crucifix to his Church in a procession. The next morning, the crucifix was gone. The priest hiked out to the same spot and dug again, finding the crucifix and bringing it back to the Church. The following morning, it had vanished again.
After this happened a total of three times, the priest and bishop decided that, clearly, the crucifix was meant to be in that location, so they built a shrine. That shrine is the Sanctuaries de Chimayo and is a functioning Church today.
People came to the shrine and touched the dirt that the cross was buried in and they were healed of any illness. The stories spread and pilgrims came from all over to touch the “Holy Dirt.” As the dirt was removed, caretakers refilled the hole and the healing continued. The shrine has, over the years, appeared in Newsweek, Time Magazine and major metropolitan newspapers, leading to around 300,000 visitors each year.
If you are ever in New Mexico, I recommend taking a trip to Chimayo, which is not far from Santa Fe, to visit this Sanctuary. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Below are some photos I took from that day. Sorry for the not-so-straight shots. My insides were busy jumping because I was so excited. It felt good being there. Really good.
This Chapel is dedicated to children who passed away.
This is the Holy Dirt I took from the pit. I had more than this but I split it with my mom.