I recently took a trip to Taos, NM. While there, we visited Chimayo and I have to say, I found the Santuario to be Spiritual, humbling, and very calming. In the past, I have often found Catholic churches to be places of great peace for me. This visit did not disappoint in that regard. My parents had both visited the grounds before and seemed to head right to where they each wanted to go, my dad to Leona’s (a restaurant/store on the grounds), my mom to the sanctuary to get sand. We stopped along the way to take pictures, but as soon as I set foot on the little path leading up the hill, that sense of peace appeared. I did not need to know where I was going because I was where I was supposed to be.
Everyone who comes to Chimayo has their own reasons for being there. Some come for healing, some to pray, some for holy water, some for the dirt one can collect from a hole located in a little alcove of the Santuario, some to ask help from others, and some come to visit Leona’s. I was there because my parents wanted to show the place to me. I was not sure what I would find as I did not remember my parents showing me pictures they had taken there on previous visits.
At various locations throughout the grounds, people leave rosaries, pictures, inscribed rocks, even crutches. I was unable to get pictures of some of the most amazing sights as they were inside the church, but a few I was able to get give a taste of things.
At some point I had followed my mom in to the Santuario. While she went to the alcove to gather some sand, I sat in the larger alcove and just took in all of the emotions, wishes, and prayers that were attached to the items left there. I then went to see what my mom was up to, and she smiled and said ‘Hey, stand in the hole!’ Not one to question a random suggestion like that, I stood in the hole. My dad had just done the same and his reaction was amusement at having to stand in it. I noticed that I sunk as soon as I stepped into the hole. I felt more grounded as I have ever felt, and yet, at the same time felt like I could just take off and leave my body standing there in the hole. Just as suddenly as that thought came, I felt an intense sense of calmness pass over me. The feeling of calm, spiritual connectedness brought me to tears and I had a strong need to step out of the hole and walk to the larger alcove. I later learned that around that time, a good friend’s mother had passed. I decided to leave something behind, and so on the statue pictured above I left a necklace I had made. I did not have a prayer strand with me but the same intent had gone into the necklace that goes into the prayer strands I make. We shall have to wait and see if anything comes of the visit beyond the sense of peace and some great pictures.