Written by Sherry
Thursday, 05 April 2007 09:25
Several years ago, I had the wonderful experience of spending Holy Thursday wandering down highway 76 (the "high road") in northern New Mexico from the Colorado border to Taos.
There are several wonderful mission churches en route but I left my heart in San Jose de la Gracias in Trampas where I found a older woman carefully feeding the wood stove to warm the sanctuary up in time for Mass.
Built over a 20-year period beginning in 1760, subsidized by the tithing of Las Trampas villagers' crops, dedicated to the 12 apostles, and adorned with tower bells of silver and gold, San Jose de las Gracias is one of the best preserved and least altered Spanish Colonial churches in New Mexico.
No electricity. Candles on wooden crossbeam candelabras hoisted by ropes provide the only artificial light. All of the church's original paintings have survived. It is here that I stood and wondered "What would it have been like?"
The most famous little town on the high road is
Chimayo the "Lourdes of America" with its famous sanctuary and miraculous healing dirt. 300,000 visit every year. Thousands of pilgrims clog to the road to Chimayo on Good Friday, some carrying crosses. Some walk a hundred miles from as far away as Albuquerque.
Do go here and read this moving description of the pilgrimage to Chimayo.
"The destination of the pilgrims, El Santuario de Chimayo, is believed to hold the power to heal mind and body.
A pilgrim from Las Cruces, New Mexico years ago left a note in the shrine advising: "If you are a stranger, If you are weary from the struggles in life, Whether you have a handicap, Whether you have a broken heart, Follow the long mountain road, Find a home in Chimayo..."