The year 2003 was a rough one for me and my family. My father passed away in July of that summer. My uncle died a month later and then my aunt died two months after that. There were times I would go to work in a weird fog and not be able to shake it. I worked in the Old Town area and one of the only ways of coping with it all was to go for walks at lunch time. I would walk around Tiguex Park. I would sometimes go with a friend to the Rio Grande Nature Center and walk full speed for an hour. Sometimes I would just wander around Old Town. It is amazing how many times I've wandered around Old Town over the years and thought I'd seen everything there was to see. I know stores and restaurants have come and gone, but I thought I knew all there was to know about Old Town. So how is it I had never seen or been to the place that was to be my ultimate healing place that year?

One day that summer I wandered into a store called Saints and Martyrs. As I walked out of the store and started heading toward an antique shop, I noticed something I had never noticed before. If you've spent any time in Old Town you know there are little passageways between buildings that lead to other cool shops and restaurants. I noticed there was a gate that lead to the backside of the Albuquerque Museum. I'd never been through there and figured it would be a good shortcut back to work. But as I walked toward the gate I discovered a tiny, unassuming square box of a building off to the side. The door was open and I ducked under the low doorway and walked in. What was this little place? Well it was no surprise to me that the best information I've ever found about this place was a post written by our very own Johnny Mango on Duke City Fix back in 2005. This little building is called La Capilla de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. Please read the wonderful post by Johnny and learn about the chapel and Sister Giotto Moots. (There is a wealth of information in our Archives!)

After reading about Sister Giotto I now know why I felt so drawn to the chapel. For several weeks after I discovered it I would make excuses to co-workers and friends as to why I couldn't go to lunch with them. I would walk as fast as I could to get to my little sanctuary to cry or just be alone. It occurs to me that I was never interrupted by another human being there that summer. I don't think I was ready to find this place before the summer of 2003.

A few more family members have passed away in the last couple of years - two cousins and another uncle. My place of solace has not let me down. And if you go to La Capilla de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, you may see what is left of candles I have burned. You may even find a tear or two.

This post is written in loving memory of Alfonso, Ramon, Maria de la Paz, Danny, Ellen, and Tino. I miss you.

Views: 187

Comment by Sí Serrano on February 27, 2008 at 10:22am
Nice post and what a gem you found. May all our loved ones Rest In Peace.
Comment by SweetieDarling on February 27, 2008 at 10:24am
Hi Lita! Thanks for this post. It was very touching. Everyone needs a 'healing' place in their lives and I'm glad you were able to find yours. Hope all is well!
Comment by JR Ramirez on February 27, 2008 at 10:28am
My dear sweet sista! I know exactly where and what surrealism this small place brings. I found this place accidentally as well. I wanna say it was about 8 or 9 years ago.

When I walked in...the emotion I felt was undescribable. I wanna say that I felt at peace...but on a much higher level. I didn't want to leave, I could've stayed there all day. Of the few times that I visited Old Town, I always stopped by that place and studied it carefully. I felt so close to God when I was in that place. It was if he was almost standing right next to me.

Oh the chills, the positive vibes I felt from that place. I'm getting them right now just re-living it. Thank you for posting this, this is just amazing!!
Comment by bleve on February 27, 2008 at 10:29am
Great post Adelita. When I was young my mom was taking seminar courses at a little gallery in Old Town. I'd wonder over after my basketball practice at the Boys Club and wait for her. With nothing to do but explore I discovered this place and it was a place of wonder for a young boy.

I came upon it recently with my family and I introduced them to this special place... a lot of old memories came back. Its like a magical area that opens itself up when passers by need it most.
Comment by cc on February 27, 2008 at 1:09pm
Thanks for sharing about this place and how it has helped you, A. 2003 is not that long ago ...

I have always wondered about especially the woodwork in la Capilla. definitely seemed constructed in the 60's or early 70's - i remember seeing similar woodwork in a little house in Corrales - with the dark wood and the inscriptions. We are so lucky to have had this effort and inspiration of Sister Giotto and Meinrad Craighead.

as a little girl i would go to Old Town whenever we would come to visit my grandma who lived out in Corrales. I remember going to the pottery studio (on Church street???) of Joseph Sherman and how he had a stack of newspapers ready to wrap whatever piece was bought. i still have a big stoneware pitcher that my parents bought from him, so does my sis. Makes me wonder if Joseph's Table has any relation to that Joseph, an active artisan in Old Town at the same time Sister Giotto was there, probably.
Comment by bleve on February 27, 2008 at 1:19pm
CC, my mother was indeed taking seminar classes under Sister Giotto during that time. When I was older, my mother took me to Oaxaca, Mexico... a magical place itself which Sister Giotto had previously taken my mother on a trip to.

When we were there... about '98, we ended up randomly running into Sister Giotto in the market place... I believe she is now somewhere in Jemez.

Hmm... memories and more memories.
Comment by MPC on February 27, 2008 at 3:16pm
I've had to close this browser window a few times today because of the tears it brings to my eyes thinking of the solace I have found in La Capilla. In fact I shall be shedding a few more tears and lighting a few more candles for one of my family's great matriarchs who passed this past Sunday. She was SOOO devoted to La Guadelupana. Thank you for the reminder.
Comment by Johnny_Mango on February 27, 2008 at 3:52pm
Thanks for sharing your experiences within this wonderful place. I don't know anybody who has been there that didn't feel that sense of peace and comfort. Tears are perfectly appropriate here. But so are smiles.

Thanks again.
Comment by Jeremy Brittain on February 27, 2008 at 6:35pm
Wow! I have never wondered that path in Old Town but the next time I'm in ABQ, I definately will. I've always felt a spiritual connection when I would wonder in the San Felipe de Neri but I will definately check this one out. Thanks for sharing this!
Comment by Neonnoodle on February 27, 2008 at 10:56pm
Great story :) Thanks for posting this, Adelita.


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