You can’t go anywhere in New Mexico without running into another miraculous historical building or energy vortex. It’s a challenge to pick which ones to visit, but checking out this church was a must for me (the last one for a while, I swear!). Because this church isn’t just any old church, it’s a church built on miraculous dirt.
I first heard about Chimayo through a family friend, who made a pilgrimage there in the 1980s, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She headed there like so many others, in search of the holy spirit that would receive her prayers and aid in her recovery. The magic worked. She beat the cancer, and swears that the reason she’s made it into her 80s is because of her pilgrimage and the miraculous dirt she took home from Chimayo.
Last week, my friend took a bad fall and is now in a rehab hospital. When I heard this news, I decided to make my own pilgrimage to Chimayo, just north of Santa Fe, to get some more of that magic dirt to send to her.
Chimayo is indeed a sanctuary. The grounds were idyllic, and the church interior is a work of art. It’s not glitzy like a typical old Catholic church; it’s rough around the edges, and embodies the spirit of Latino culture, with an adobe structure and humble yet stunning hand painted, wood carved artwork. Even me, the heathen, felt an overwhelming sense of peace once I stepped inside.
Once we were done admiring the interior, and Jim (the former altar boy) got scolded by a nun for wearing his baseball hat inside, we headed for the dirt, which is located in a little room off the main altar. The room is so small that even I, at 5′ 2″, had to duck when I went inside. I looked down, and there it was. Down on the ground was a small hole filled with sand, and spades for visitors to take some magic home.
“Gee, do you think the dirt just miraculously replaces itself?” Jim later said to me. “They probably just go to Home Depot and buy it.” That’s him, always the skeptic.
I say whatever works, especially for my old friend. I hope the dirt helps her.