Located nine miles east of Espanola, New Mexico, and twenty-eight miles north of Santa Fe, this shrine receives about three-hundred thousand visitors per year and is considered to be the most important Catholic pilgrimage in the United States.
The first chapel was built on the land by Bernardo Abeyta who asked for permission to build a larger place of worship. Once reports of healings and cures were reported, he received permission and the present-day chapel was built in 1816. It became a national landmark in 1970.
Each year during Holy Week, beginning on Thursday, thousands of people make the pilgrimages to the Santuario de Chimayo. The pilgrims usually walk in the evening of Thursday and the day of Good Friday. Those seeking the refuse of the tiny adobe church each have their own vows and sentiment, but all will agree it is worth the trip, leaving with a tiny bit of holy dirt to bless them through the coming year.
The church replaces the dirt daily from the nearby hillsides. Whether or not it is a place of healing, only the recipient can know but the spiritual peace and obvious magic in the ground at least produce a calming renewal of the spirit to those who visit.
Perhaps it is the minerals or water in the earth beneath this blessed sanctuary or perhaps it is the healing of the spirit and His graces that bring such comfort to the thousands of pilgrims and worshippers who visit. Discarded crutches, braces, canes and wheel chairs hang from the walls in the prayer room, evident at least that some indeed found their miracle.
If you decide to make the trek be sure to have lots of fresh water, flashlights and jackets. Make prior arrangements for your accommodations. If you are not up to a pilgrimage, it is still worth the visit any time by car.
Santuario Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (October-April) 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (May-September)
Mass Schedule: Daily at 11:00 AM (Monday through Saturday) 10:30 AM and Noon (Sunday)
Confession Schedule: 9:00 AM to 10:15 AM and by appointment
Street Address: 15 Santuario Drive, Chimayo, NM 87522