Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Story of Santuario de Chimaya

The day before we went to Ghost Ranch, our group went to Chimayo to have lunch at their famous restaurant and to visit the Sanctuary. I was strolling through the church and the "annex" with Carol DuChamp, our group leader. We came to a tiny room off the sanctuary which had a small, shallow pit (called "el posito," or Little Healing Well) in the center of the room.

The sancuary is called the Lourdes of America. Like that French shrine, the Santuario has become known as a place of healing. Legend has it that because the church was expressly built on land where a crucifix mysteriously appeared nearly 200 years ago, its dirt is sacred. Ever since, people have believed that touching this dirt, rubbing it on a wound or an affliction, could bring about a cure.

I'm not very religious, but I felt I needed to rub some of the dirt on me. I couldn't bend down so Carol gathered up a handful of dirt for me. I rubbed the dirt on my jeans and rubbed my hands together. I started to tell Carol my story about falling. It seems that when I take a fall, I relax and just go with it. It may be my experience as a skier that has taught me not to tense up when I fall. Because I instinctively relax, I've never broken a bone. Plus, it doesn't hurt that I have a high bone density.

When I took my "leap" off the path to the petroglyphs, I know I didn't stiffen up. I just rolled down the embankment clutching my camera and my sketch book. I landed with them still in my grip. I believe to this day that the "dirt" from the Santuario de Chimayo kept me safe from serious injury.

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