There always is that particular fear hiding in the back of my mind, of bursting into flames when entering a church. It doesn’t bother me really, as I’m not one for believing much in urban myths or any particular religion. Although it does cross my imagination. And often the soundtrack of my life tunes to Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young,” and I remind myself that “I would rather laugh with the sinners, than cry with the saints- sinners are much more fun.”
With that being said, I have visited El Santuario de Chimayo the past two Thanksgivings. There is something very special, some may say sacred, about the grounds and church. Hidden in the desert outside of Santa Fe, Chimayo offers charm and comfort to its visitors.
This shrine, is of the Roman Catholic religion, and features hand carved doors, large wooden beams, a hand carved and painted alter, carved pews, and a simple stone floor. There is a small room to the left of the alter called ‘el pocito’ where a small pit is dug in the center of the room- this is the source of what is believed to be tierra bendita (‘holy dirt’), believed to have provided healing (both emotional and physical) to it’s visitors.
Just outside of the small room is a corridor of crutches, postcards, photographs, letters, and other testimonies to the power of the tierra bendita.
*Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take photos in the church* These are simply snapshots, taken from my phone- and they don’t do Chimayo justice, but can offer you an idea to the magic tucked between the mountains.