• Carmen Medrano

Chimayo and it's Devoto De El Santo Niño

Cast Your merciful look upon my troubled heart,

so incline to pity.

Be softened by my prayer,

and grant me these favors

which I ardently implore of You;

Take from me all affliction and despair,

all trials and misfortunes

with which I am laden.

For your Sacred Infancy's sake,

send me now the consolation and aid

and grace that I may praise You

with the Father and Holy Spirit,

forever and ever,


There are things deep in my memory that are almost like a dream. I’m not sure if it really happened or if it was a dream. A Déjà vu of sorts.

I recently went to Chimayo, New Mexico with my husband and his family. They asked if I had ever been there before, and I said no. Yet, when I stepped into El Santuario de Chimayó, what seemed memory or maybe a dream came flooding back. It was me as a child in a white dress standing up against a wall, completely covered with the crutches of those left behind by people who were cured by their faith and in the a hole containing loose dirt in center of an attached room that seemed to intrigue everyone in the room.

Later that day, we made our way to El Santo Niño De Atocha Chapel. As I walked towards the entrance of the chapel I instantly felt comfortable. There was a welcoming and loving vibe.

As I came closer, the wooden door with a beautiful stained glass inlay of El Santo Niño De Atocha , opened slightly. With no one in the chapel, I took it as a welcome and an invitation to come in come in. It may have just been a breeze that happened to push a heavy door open. Or was El Santo Niño De Atocha saying to come in? I was Not prepared for the beauty that was waiting behind this door

El Santo Niño De Atocha is known to have helped feed the Spanish prisoners during the battles between the Moors and the Spanish. It was said that the statue of baby Jesus would climb off of Mary’s lap so that he could feed the prisoners bread and give them water. Especially since they only let children under the age of twelve visit the prisoners. By morning, the baby Jesus would make his way back to Mary‘s lap. The only thing out of place was that the baby Jesus’ shoes were dusty and worn out. Eventually the baby Jesus did not return to Mary’s lap. Eventually, the baby Jesus or El Santo Niño, became his own statue, away from Mary. Every night, the people of Atocha would pray to him to feed their loved ones and would leave him knew shoes that he would eventually wear out later that night.

The Statue of El Santo Niño De Atocha was later moved to Plateros, Zacatecas in Mexico where the statue now resides. When I entered the beautiful chapel another memory/dream came back to me. Except it was of me once again in a white dress at a different church visiting El Santo Niño De Atocha.

400 years later, El Santo Niño De Atocha traveled to Chimayo, New Mexico. He was brought by a man named Severiano Medina. He had made a pilgrimage to the shrine of the Santo Niño de Atocha in Mexico. He brought back the statue of the Santo Nino to his home in Chimayo and built a tiny shrine near the El Santuario de Chimayo to house the statue. Even though the the original statue doesn’t reside there, El Santo Niño De Atocha is well beloved across the state of New Mexico. It is said amongst the religious community that El Santo Niño wanders the valleys of Chimayo at night. He brings healing and comfort to those that need it most. Once again he wears his shoes out. So people continue to bring him shoes that are left in a prayer room inside the chapel that contains a wooden statue of El Santo Niño De Atocha.

El Santo Niño De Atocha is a saint that I associate with the story of a man. This man was born in Mexico to a family who owned lots of livestock. Unfortunately, the man lost both of his parents by the age of 17. He was left with nothing since his older siblings took over the family livestock business, left behind after the passing of his parents. At the age of 17, he took a risk and made his way to the United States with nothing but the clothes on his back. Every day and night he would pray to El Santo Niño De Atocha and never found himself without food or water.

When he got to the United States, Joe Otero employed this man. Joe was very fond of the man. So much so that he not only gave him a job, but also a place to stay. He even took the man to get his papers and vouched for him, taking the chance that if the man ever did anything illegal, Joe would be responsible and would have to face the consequences along side him.

The man in the story is my father. He continues to pray and talk to El Santo Niño De Atocha and continues to have food and water and much more. He is a man with a fourth grade education that traveled to another country with no possessions and would eventually be a small business owner in the United States. My father is the American dream. He made something out of nothing with every odd stacked against him. He found an American that understood the value of human life and reached out to help him.

That is an not example the United States that we are currently witnessing. The words, Make America Great, isn’t about political values. It isn’t even a campaign slogan. Because, politics and government shouldn’t be what we rely upon for a better future for our country. Our humanity relies on how we as people treat one another. Not with propaganda and hate. America will only be great when we the people respect, love, and treat each other with dignity. When all persons are treated equally without regard to their race, color, or national origin. Stories like the one of my father and Joe are what Make America Great. Many stories like my father should not be the exception it should be the rule. It's the Golden Rule. Lets be kind to one another because even the tiniest amount of compassion can make a huge impact in someone else's life.

After confirming with my mother, it turns out that those dreams I was thinking of, were actual memories of my childhood.


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