El Santuario de Chimayo
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Sacred Earth and a Simple Pilgrimage
The grounds that lead up to this small chapel are festooned with rosaries, small crosses, offerings, all made before entering the church and small ante-room to the left of the nave, where two toy trowels sat in a dirt hole, the better to scoop a pinch of sacred dirt to take home for a sick loved one, an ill friend, or perhaps to heal your 21st century spirit. I was overcome with emotion upon entering the chapel; struck dumb, close to sobbing, kneeling on the hard wooden kneeler, trying to remember my early prayers. The wooden Christ is more skeletal and bloody than the Christ of my youth, but the scent of incense identical. I could feel the belief in the bones of the building under an achingly blue sky.
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