Chimayo, New Mexico
Built in 1816, this historic church attracts worldwide visitors and is still the object to pilgrimages. Its miraculous earth is reputed by legend to have healing powers.
postmarked in 2012 with a 32 cent stamp
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El Santuario de Chimayó is a Roman Catholic church in Chimayó, New Mexico, USA. (Santuario is Spanish for "sanctuary".) This shrine is a National Historic Landmark and receives almost 300,000 visitors per year.
Each year some 30,000 people from all over the world make pilgrimages during Holy Week, especially on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Walking is traditional; some pilgrims walk from as far away as Albuquerque, about 90 miles (150 km).
Many visitors to the church take a small amount of the "holy dirt", often in hopes of a miraculous cure for themselves or someone who could not make the trip. Formerly they often ate the dirt. Now seekers of cures more commonly rub themselves with the dirt or simply keep it. The Church replaces the dirt in the pocito from the nearby hillsides, sometimes more than once a day, for a total of about 25 or 30 tons a year.