El Santuario de Chimayo, known as the Lourdes of America, draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The Shrine was built between 1813 and 1816 following the discovery of a "miraculous" crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas. The spot where the crucifix was found is believed to hold healing power and is the destination of pilgrims who often take away some of the sacred earth from a hole in the ground inside El Santuario. There are numerous testimonies of favors granted and healing received after visiting the Shrine. El Santuario de Chimayo was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
The name El Potrero means "the pastures," the lush river meadows that create the tranquil setting for El Santuario de Chimayo. The Shrine is nestled between century-old homes and family-owned businesses. An acequia carrying irrigation water to the chile farmers of this traditional agricultural community flows in front of the Shrine and a few yards behind it the Santa Cruz river provides water to many acres of unspoiled pasture. Santa Fe County has purchased a portion of the potreros to maintain the area's rustic character and prevent further development to the north.
The sound of the running water, the unspoiled vista of pasturelands and dramatic hills are the most significant elements of the Chimayo community's identity and sense of place.
Over the last few years, El Potrero has been impacted by numerous construction projects initiated by the Catholic Church including a museum and gift shop, a meditation center and radical renovations to the historic Santo Nino de Atocha chapel. This construction was done with no input from the cummunity and is not consistent with the values or architectural traditions of the community.
The Santa Fe Archdiocese is now proposing to build a multimillion dollar, 8,000-square foot complex with 25 rooms, kitchen facilities, conference rooms and other structures to support the retreat - including some two storied buldings. A complex of this size will cause public health and safety concerns, as well as further deterioration of this sacred site.
Please sign this petition to help protect El Potrero from further development plans that threaten to transform our historic traditional community and degrade it's natural resources and historic properties.
SAY NO TO FURTHER DEVELOPMENT BY THE SANTA FE ARCHDIOCESE AND THE SONS OF THE HOLY FAMILY.