Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Chimayo, New Mexico: Holy Dirt

on March 26, 2013

Today we went to Chimayo, NM, a historic site of miraculous healings and the destination for thousands upon thousands of pilgrims each year. The legend is that Bernardo Abeyta, one of the first group of settlers to come to the area, saw flashes of light on the hillside. When he went to investigate, he found that they were coming out of the ground, so he began to dig with his hands. He uncovered a large crucifix buried in the ground! This crucifix still hangs in the small church known as El Santuario. The settlers attempted to relocate the crucifix to a nearby town on three separate occasions, but each time, the crucifix disappeared and was later found back in its hole on the hillside. So Abeyta asked for permission to build a chapel on the spot so the crucifix could stay in Chimayo. The image of Christ is known as Our Lord of Esquipulas, which is also the name of a depiction of Christ venerated in Guatemala. There seems to be several ideas as to how Abeyta came to know if the Guatemalan devotion and why he decided this crucifix in Chimayo would share the name.

100_1436Over the years, miraculous healings that occurred in Chimayo were no longer attributed to the crucifix, but to the dirt it was found in. El Santuario has a small room off the side of the building that contains el pocito, the well which contains the holy dirt. The oldest custom is to eat some dirt or dissolve it and drink, but there are notices everywhere saying you shouldn’t do that now! The recommended application is to rub some dirt on the part of your body that requires healing. There is a room near the well which contains racks and racks of crutches that people leave behind after being healed of their afflictions.

We decided to visit Chimayo on the advice of a friend who thought we might like a miracle. We will try anything for our baby girl! We got to El Santuario in time to slip in to mass late and stand at the back with the other latecomers. It was okay, because I guess that happens a lot and they were prepared to distribute communion to everyone. After mass, we followed the other people into the small room with the well of dirt, and Jeremy filled the little jar we had brought with us. Stephen got down to watch at the pit, then stood up and brushed off his hands. But he was still covered in dirt. Oh well. Then we put the dirt jar in the diaper bag and left El Santuario to go eat lunch. After lunch we went back to El Santuario to look around without the mobs of people who had been there for mass. We also visited the chapel of Santo Nino de Atocha. The Santo Nino has his own story that is totally independent from El Santuario and the holy dirt, but the two have become linked because they are both in Chimayo. We were there for the dirt, so I’ll leave it to you to read about the Santo Nino if you like.

100_1438I didn’t apply the dirt right at El Santuario for a few reasons. First, I wanted to do it right, by following some of the rules for receiving an indulgence. I wanted to receive communion and go to confession and be prayerful about it. I missed my chance to go to confession before we left this morning, so I didn’t want to do the dirt. Also, how prayerful could I really be in a tiny room surrounded by lots of strangers? Second, I wore a dress today. There was no possible way to apply dirt to my tummy without being indecent, unless I went to the ladies’ room and that is even less prayerful than anything else. So, I’m going to do it tonight after I finish this post. I went to confession this evening, and received communion earlier today at El Santuario. I can be prayerful in my own home.

I am praying for a miracle, but I am aware that healing for my baby girl may not be God’s plan. If my daughter is healed, who’s to say it was because of the holy dirt? We have been praying so much besides, and so many other people have been praying with us, and faith is absolutely stronger than any physical article. I do have faith that this dirt from Chimayo has healed hundreds; I saw the crutches and read the testimonials. I will apply this dirt to my tummy with faith that it can heal my daughter.

Unfortunately, if there is an instant miraculous cure, I won’t know it! My next ultrasound is in three weeks. Oh well.100_1440


3 responses to “Chimayo, New Mexico: Holy Dirt

  1. […] Maria Goretti to intercede for our baby, and we even made a little pilgrimage a couple weeks ago to Chimayo, NM where we scooped up some Holy Dirt and I applied it to my tummy. Also yesterday, I drank some water […]

  2. […] Part Two b: Chimayo, NM: Holy Dirt […]

  3. Father Phil says:

    I have had my own miracle happen at Chimayo. My website ships authentic Chiamayo
    miracle dirt worldwide to folks who cannot make the pilgrimage here to get their own.
    Father Phil
    Taos, NM

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