Pilgrimage for the Faithful

New Mexico is nothing if not complicated. Just east of Espanola, a small town south of Taos  infamous for its drugs and violence, sits El Santuario de Chimayo, a place of religious pilgrimage and healing.

I’m not a religious person but have always been drawn to places of worship. Whether I’m trying to understand what it feels like to have that kind of faith, or maybe I just appreciate quiet, reverent places, I don’t know. But the Chimayo church claims a lot of believers, many of them making the pilgrimage on foot every year seeking spiritual and physical healing. (The church sits on what’s believed to be holy ground.)

Pilgrimage for the Faithful

The church is unassuming, and mass was going on so I couldn’t take photos of the inside, but it’s lovely – check out the website if you’re interested.

Pilgrimage for the Faithful

I assume these are crosses left by pilgrims over the years.

Pilgrimage for the Faithful


Pilgrimage for the Faithful

More offerings.

Pilgrimage for the Faithful

A gorgeous handcrafted door on the site.

Pilgrimage for the Faithful

I fell in love with her sad, beautiful face.

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  1. Susan Embry July 22, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    Deonne, I’ve seen a lot of photographs of this special place in my 20 years of Taos, but these have a unique and fresh perspective that feels warm and inviting…just as the place does. Thanks for the trip south.

    • deonne July 22, 2015 at 8:53 am #

      That’s a really nice thing to say, Susan, thank you.

  2. Ron Hagg July 22, 2015 at 8:53 am #

    thanks for sharing. wonderful photos.
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  3. Emilie Vardaman July 22, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    So close, and this was your first visit! I find that almost shocking.
    Such a beautiful, quiet, spiritual place. I love it there. Your photos capture its essence.
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    • deonne July 22, 2015 at 9:10 am #

      Emilie – It is shocking! I’ve been everywhere else it seems, but haven’t visited this place so close by. Funny how that works. Thank you for the kind words on the photos – I’m glad you appreciate the place, too.

  4. Susan Carpenter Sims July 22, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    That black and white one in the middle is really haunting and beautiful. I know what you mean about being drawn to certain religious sites. When I lived by the San Francisco de Asis Church I used to spend a lot of time sitting quietly in the courtyard, at the feet of the statue of St. Clare.

    Did you get any of the holy dirt?
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    • deonne July 22, 2015 at 10:13 am #

      Susan – Thank you! I know what you mean about the quiet sitting. When I lived in New York there was a tiny church on my way home from work, and I’d stop in and sit for a few minutes. Satisfying and restorative.

  5. Martha July 22, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    Your photos are exquisite! Having been raised in a very religious setting, I now don’t go near these types of places if I can help it! Strange, isn’t it.

    • deonne July 22, 2015 at 10:13 am #

      Martha – Thank you so much! I don’t think you’re the only one with that response to a strict religious upbringing. 🙂

  6. Sherry in MT July 22, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    I am drawn to churches and cemeteries – go figure. I love the shot of the statue with the rosaries on it in black and white however, the face on that last one is amazing. I think some of it is just an attraction to the energies that surround places like this and this is a lovely pretty one!
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    • deonne July 22, 2015 at 11:05 am #

      Sherry – Yes, me too with the cemeteries! Is is the stillness, the quiet, the solemnity of them? I’m glad you like the photos – overall my favorite is the b&w statue, but I absolutely love her face in the last photo.

  7. Manisha July 28, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    These photos are haunting. I think many of your photos have that haunted quality and I think that’s what I love about your photos. I think it has to do with the idea that the feeling I get when I look at your photos stays with me long after. Like these for instance. I saw them when you first posted them but I didn’t have time to comment. Yet they stayed with me for a long while. I hope this makes sense because I mean it as praise!
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    • deonne July 28, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

      Manisha – I take all that as huge praise, thank you! My goal for my work is that it not only resonates with or triggers some emotion in the viewer, but that it stays with her long after. You made my day.

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