Saturday, August 02, 2008

Road Trip 2: New Mexico (part 1)

I decided I had to break up my week in Santa Fe into at least three blog entries, because there is just too much to tell. I arrived on Sunday afternoon, which quickly turned into a stunning sunset. Above is the view from St. John's College student center. Seriously, it looks like this every night.

While I'm attending The Glen Workshop, in conjunction with Image, I decided not to take a writing workshop this year, but rather just attend the readings/presentations and enjoy New Mexico. This allowed me to go to El Santuario on Tuesday, a Catholic church in Chimayo, NM. It has been called "the Lourdes of America," and is perhaps the only active pilgrimage site in the US. During Holy Week, people walk as far as 150 miles along the highway to visit Chimayo and El Santuario.
This is the view of the front of the church.

The dirt of Chimayo is blessed, and said to have healing properties (although the explanation inside the church ascribes any healing to God). Inside the side chapel are all kinds of crutches and walkers from people who have been healed. Sadly, no photos could be taken inside the church. It has this amazing bell tower, as well as a hutch for pigeons. When you go inside, you can hear the pigeons cooing, and it really has an incredible calming and meditative effect.

The pigeons of El Santuario.

Outside the church, along the path leading up to it, pilgrims and penitents have placed all kinds of homemade crosses and petitions against the fence. This was probably my favorite image at Chimayo. The best part though, was a discarded "wheelchair accessible" sign, that had been removed because of some new construction in the compound. Sitting on the ground next to the crosses, it just struck me as a good image of healing.

My favorite homemade cross was constructed out of barbed wire.

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