Several years ago I read a book by Melody Beattie entitled “Journey to the Heart”. This book is still offered on Amazon.Com and I highly recommend it.
In the book it takes us on her personal journey as she travels to find peace and tranquility in her life.
One of the stops along the way was at El Santuario de Chimayo a mission located just 30 miles north of Santa Fe. This mission is said to hold sacred healing powers and each year 30,000 people from all over the world make pilgrimages to this site especially on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
After reading Melody’s writings about this legendary shrine and realizing that it was no doubt the most important Catholic pilgrimage center in the U.S. I felt that my own personal journey was needed. I am not a Catholic but the tug of the historical healing powers touched me like nothing I have ever felt before.
Legend states that a friar was watching his sheep and contemplating his blessings even though he was very ill. A vision of the Patron Saint – San Esquipula beckoned to him and the friar knelt on the spot to pray. The friar was healed immediately and as a way of showing his gratitude and thanks he built the chapel so others could be healed too. It is said that the dirt on this spot is blessed by God and holds great healing powers. Many have traveled to this spot to for a hope to be healed of what ails them.
After driving through Santa Fe on this journey I finally discovered the turn to Chimayo (if you are planning a trip here please note that it is miles off the main road). I reached the end of the road where the adobe mission stood with a bell tower on either side of the church. I felt like I was walking back in time. I proceeded to walk through the walled courtyard and into the old mission. I was in awe of the glorious elegant doors which I soon discovered were carved by the 19th-century carpenter Pedro Dominguez. Upon enteringthe mission I immediately felt the comfort and the spiritual beckoning of this simple chapel.
After entering the main room, I walked to the small room in the back (called el pocito) where in a round pit (well) the “holy” dirt can be found. There were several people there kneeling and actually placing some of the dirt in their own containers to keep for future blessings. The one thing that I noticed when I looked around this room was the number and sizes of crutches that were left behind on the walls. It was apparent that many entered this quiet, simple room with the hopes and belief that they would be healed. When they left – they no longer required their crutches and left them behind.
I hope to someday return to El Santuario de Chimayo.