Historic Churches in Santa FeCatholic churches in New Mexico played an important role in the history and culture of the Southwest. There are a number of historical churches to visit during your Santa Fe family vacation, each with its own unique history and traditions.
San Miguel Mission ChapelAnother of our historic New Mexico churches sits a few minutes’ walk from the Santa Fe Plaza. The oldest church in continuous use in the US, Mission San Miguel has been used for Christian worship since 1610. Its thick adobe walls and stately bell tower are iconic images for Southwestern Catholics. When you stay at our Santa Fe, NM Plaza hotel you help us support the chapel through our community partnerships program. For more information about visiting the chapel, see http://sanmiguelchapel.org/.
St. Francis CathedralBuilt on the site of two earlier churches, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is one of the historical cathedrals that sprang up in the footsteps of European expansion into the Southwest. Constructed by French and Italian masons and completed in 1887, this cathedral also features an old adobe chapel built in 1714. Its beautiful stained-glass windows were transported to Santa Fe by ship and covered wagon. The plans for its towers included160-foot steeples, but they were never built for lack of funds.
The Cathedral was elevated to a Basilica in 2005, and remains one of the longest-established Catholic congregations in the U.S. St. Francis is the patron saint of Santa Fe, and we also honor him through the name of our hotel, which is located just two blocks from the Cathedral. For more information, visit cbsfa.org.
Loretto Chapel and its Miraculous StaircaseAnother church that is integral to Santa Fe history is the Loretto Chapel. Built in 1878, the Chapel initially had no means to access the choir loft, 22 feet above the ground level. Legend states the Sisters of the Chapel prayed to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters, and a man appeared who insisted upon building a circular staircase and refused any payment. When he had completed the staircase, he left and was never seen again. The staircase remains as his masterful and intriguing legacy, designed with no visible means of support despite its two complete 360-degree turns. The Sisters of Loretto Chapel considered the staircase to be a miracle. For more information, visit lorettochapel.com.
Chimayo's SantuarioAbout 30 minutes North of Santa Fe lies the sacred historical village community of Chimayo, New Mexico. Known as "the Lourdes of North America," the Santuario de Chimayo's is one of the most sacred pilgrimage places on the continent. In the Santuario, holy dirt works miracles every day, healing visitors from around the world from ailments minor and serious. Each year, thousands make pilgrimage to the Santuario with prayers to remove their suffering. The tiny shrine, devoted to the legendary, miraculous return of a crucifix found by Bernardo de Abeyta in the early 1800s, features a small pit of sacred soil to which many ascribe curative powers.
In a small room connected to the chapel, a collection of crutches, splints and other devices delivered or brought to the Santuario testifies to the healing powers of the sacred site. The unassuming, picturesque Catholic church, built on what legends say is a sacred Native American site, inspires visitors and residents to place public affirmation of their faith: crosses on surrounding trees, fences and walls.