English 203: 
of the NonWestern World


Sanctuario de Chimayo, NM

"An important Christian pilgrimage site in New Mexico is the Sanctuario at Chimayo, which is visited today by thousands of pilgrims, especially during Holy Week. According to local tradition, the site was an ancient, pre-Christian shrine associated with the twin war gods, who killed a child-devouring monster on that spot. As a result of the death of the monster, a pool of healing mud was created. The chapel contains a statue of Santo Nino de Atocha, who, according to some accounts, was a popular saint in the 19th century, known for his errands of mercy that wore out his shoes!  He was also the patron saint of travelers and pilgrims. In a fascinating reaffirmation of the importance of feet and shoes to pilgrimage, pilgrims to Chimayo 
often bring baby shoes for Santo Nino to replace his old ones."
(from: http://www.colorado.edu/Conferences/pilgrimage/papers/Malville-Pap/Mal2-4-2.htm)

Pilgrims hope to reach the Sanctuario on Good Friday when the quiet scene above looks very different.  There are thousands of Christians patiently waiting their turn to scoop up a bit of the dirt from a pit inside the church, which is said to have healing properties.

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 Unit 07