SchoolArts Room

Desert Divas in Chimayo, Part Two

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Jul 9, 2014

Though the diva we had in mind for Chimayo was weaver Lisa Trujillo, we couldn't take our group to Chimayo without visiting a chapel and a church there.


Santo Nino Chapel at Chimayo, New Mexico

 
In addition to El Santuario de Chimayo, pictured in my previous post, the Santo Nino Chapel is also in Chimayo, New Mexico. It is a little down the main road, to the left of the Santuario. This is devoted to the Child Jesus, the patron saint of children and prisoners. He is always depicted as a boy pilgrim wearing a brown cloak with a white lace collar over a blue robe. He wears a brimmed hat with a plume and carries a basket of bread in one hand and a pilgrim's staff with the other. You can see his likeness on the door here.
 
You can't take pictures inside but it is completely filled with religious items such as carved statues, benches, paintings, photographs of children, and children's clothing. There are carved wooden birds everywhere that were painted by local children. The walls of a small room on the back left side are completely covered with school-picture-sized photos of babies and children. Though this was originally a private chapel, it now belongs to the Catholic Church. 
Shrine at El Santuario de Chimayo
 
The pilgrims who come to El Santuario de Chimayo in northern New Mexico leave religious articles such as crosses, rosaries, photographs, candles, and the like in the church and at the shrines around the church for reasons of petition, promises, prayer, thanks, and more.
Shrine at El Santuario de Chimayo
 
There is a model of the church at the bottom center of this shrine, along with candles, flowers, and rosaries. Can you see it?
Doors at El Santuario de Chimayo
 
Each year when we come here, there is something new to see. The first time I came to Chimayo, over 30 years ago, no one was there and there were no buildings around the church. Over time, things have changed. To accommodate large crowds of pilgrims, there are tiled benches below the church that surround an outdoor altar. Other structures have been added; these doors are on one of them. There are also public bathrooms, a visitor center, and other buildings nearby. If you are ever in Northern New Mexico, please stop and visit this sacred site. I know of no other place like it.