While the legendary El Santuario de Chimayo is one of Chimayo’s most popular attractions and places of worship, the Santo Nino Chapel is another fascinating spot that falls under most visitors’ radar. It is well worth the visit, and not just because it’s very visually appealing. The stories that are attached to it make seeing the chapel an experience in and of itself! Here is what you need to know about the Santo Nino Chapel and why you should stop by during your next getaway to Northern New Mexico. While you’re at it, don’t forget to request your free copy of our Chimayo, New Mexico Vacation Guide to find even more local attractions and activities.
History of the Santo Nino Chapel
The history of the Santo Nino Chapel can be traced back to the country of Spain during the 1400s. It was during this time period that many Christian men had been imprisoned and starved in their cells. Only children were allowed to visit the prisoners and bring food to them.
The wives, sisters, and daughters of these men prayed for help, and it soon arrived in the form of a small boy.
This child visited the prisoners regularly and brought them food. According to legend, his basket was never empty of bread and his water gourd was always full. He soon became considered as the manifestation of Jesus Christ himself and earned the nickname “Santo Nino,” or “Holy Child.”
Over the next few years, the Santo Nino would become a celebrity-like figure in the religious community. A statue of Our Lady of Atocha holding the Holy Child in her arms was created for a church in Plateros, Mexico. The Santo Nino would often be removed to bring healing and help to women giving birth and spread miracles to the sick and poor.
Fast forward over 400 years, long after the Spanish colonists arrived in New Mexico. A man by the name of Severiano Medina made a pilgrimage to the shrine of the Santo Niño de Atocha in Mexico and brought back the statue of the Santo Nino to his home in Chimayo.
To honor the Santo Nino, he built a tiny shrine near the El Santuario de Chimayo to house the statue. Now the Holy Child is beloved across the state of New Mexico.
What You’ll See at the Santo Nino Chapel
The Santo Nino Chapel is built in the traditional northern New Mexico style using adobe wall, wooden vigas, and stone flooring. It has also recently been renovated and filled with beautiful works of art including wood carvings, paintings, Spanish furniture, and more.
In a small prayer room adjacent to the main chapel is the small wooden statue of the Santo Nino. The sculpture depicts the Holy Child holding his water gourd and a basket of bread.
One interesting thing you might notice is that there are several pairs of shoes left at the statue’s feet and lining the wall that he sits against. This is because several chapel visitors leave small shoes as thanks for answered prayers. It is rumored in the religious community that the Santo Nino wanders the valleys of Chimayo at night to bring healing and comfort to those who need it most. All of this walking through the valleys wear out his little shoes, so people bring children’s shoes to the shrine as a gift!
Explore the Historic Village of Chimayo During Your Stay With Casa Escondida
With so many wonderful things to do in Chimayo, NM, you’ll certainly need more than a day to experience it all! That’s why we invite you to stay with us at Casa Escondida, a charming and unique bed and breakfast right in the heart of Chimayo. Not only will you enjoy convenience to local attractions like the Santo Nino Chapel, but also a peaceful and secluded place to retire after a fun-filled day of New Mexico adventures.
Our countryside inn features nine lovely guestrooms and a hot homemade breakfast prepared fresh each morning. When you return to relax with us during the evening, you’ll be welcome to converse with other guests in the common areas or unwind in the privacy of your room. No matter how you decide to spend your getaway, there’s no better place to call your “home-away-from-home.”
Book your favorite room with us today! We look forward to seeing you soon.