The Story of El Santuario de Chimayo,

The "Lourdes of America"

The "miraculous" crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas was found on the site of El Santuario (The Shrine) around 1810, buried in the dirt of the mountains in Chimayo. During Holy Week on the night of Good Friday in the year 1810, Don Bernardo Abeyta, who was a member in good standing of the Hermandad de Nuestro Padre Jesus el Nazareno (Penitentes) was performing the customary penance of the Society around the hills of El Potrero.

Suddenly, he saw a light springing from one of the slopes of the hills near the Santa Cruz river. Don Bernardo went to the spot and noticed that the shining light was coming from the ground. He started to dig with his bare hands, and here he found a Crucifix. He left it there and called his neighbors to come and venerate the precious finding. A group of men was sent to notify the local priest, Fr. Sebastian Alvarez at Santa Cruz.

Upon hearing the extraordinary news, the priest and people set out for Chimayo. When they arrived at the place where the Crucifix was, Fr. Sebastian picked it up and carried it in a joyful procession back to the church. Once in the church, the Crucifix was placed in the niche of the main altar. The next morning, it was discovered that the Crucifix was gone, only to be found back in its original location. A second procession was organized and the Crucifix was returned to Santa Cruz, but once again it disappeared. The same thing happened a third time. By then, everyone understood that the Crucifix El Senor de Esquipulas wanted to remain in Chimayo, and so the small chapel of El Santuario was built. Construction of the church shown in the photo was completed between 1814 and 1816.

In a letter dated November 16, 1813, Fr. Sebastian Alvarez wrote the Episcopal Se of Durango to express his feelings of the people coming from afar to seek cures for their ailments and the spreading of the fame of the cures. It is said that the dirt from the floor of the chapel, the place that once held the miraculous Crucifix, had healing powers bestowed on it from God. People make pilgrimages to El Santuario de Chimayo from all over the world - close to 300,000 a year. They come to worship the Almighty, to ask for peace in the world and in their hearts, to fulfill a promise, and to feel the healing touch of God.