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Sacred Spaces: Santa Fe

San Jose de Gracia (Las Trampas) (Credit: Deirdre Colgan)

San Jose de Gracia (Las Trampas) (Credit: Deirdre Colgan)

The contemporary religious landscape of Santa Fe comprises diverse faith institutions coexisting in a unique manner. Part of the United States as recently as 1848, New Mexico became a state in 1912. Santa Fe, whose Spanish name means "The Holy Faith," has been continuously inhabited for more than 10,000 years -- long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. Descendants of these Native Americans still live in and around the city. Continuing to trade their crafted goods, they observe city life from their vantage point under the arcaded adobe walkway outside the Palace of the Governors Museum on the Plaza. This particular guide has a regional scope. To create a greater context for the sites within the city limits we selected sites as far north as Taos and the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and northeast to Chimayo and Las Trampas. We believe that the complicated story of the missionaries' arrival within an already sophisticated indigenous civilization is seen more clearly within this expanded view. The site of the city itself, at the end of an ancient trading route, makes it a nexus -- where myriad civilizations have met, interacted and clashed. We sought to represent the multiple perspectives inherent in this place -- from the viewpoint of the original residents, to the Spanish and Mexicans and then the American "Anglos" who populated the area with their own ideas of what defines sacred space.

Waves of people still come here searching for the sacred. Some who travel here feel a heart-connection with the land. Like Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of the Upaya Zen Center, I identify with this area as a "bio-region." While living here 15 years ago, I found more sacred space outside in the landscape than I ever did inside a church. Although many of the spaces in this guide are traditional houses of worship, we included two Viewpoints to allow you some perspectives of the Sacred Landscape intrinsic to the indigenous religion of the land of Holy Faith. We hope you too discover why this Sacred Ground continues to resonate and affect those who experience it here in New Mexico.

Deirdre Colgan
Executive Director, Sacred Space International
Chicago, 2010

Viewpoint: Mountains (Looking South East over the foothills of Santa Fe) (Credit: Deirdre Colgan)

Viewpoint: Mountains (Looking South East over the foothills of Santa Fe) (Credit: Deirdre Colgan)

Download the Santa Fe Sacred Spaces Guide
The guide includes maps and two suggested tour routes. The following Sacred Spaces are featured:
• Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
• The Church of the Holy Faith
• El Santuario de Chimayo
• First Presbyterian Church
• San Francisco de Asis Mission Church [Ranchos De Taos]
• San Jose de Gracia Church [Las Trampas]
• Santa Fe Plaza
• Temple Beth Shalom
• Upaya Zen Center
• Viewpoint -- Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
• Viewpoint -- Sacred Mountains

Download the Santa Fe guide here (PDF).

Tell us about your experience on the tour or your favorite Sacred Space in Santa Fe. Create a page in the God in America Faithbook or submit a video to WGBH Lab's Open Call or leave us a comment below.

About Sacred Space International
Sacred Space International was founded in 2002 by Suzanne Morgan to promote interfaith education and dialogue through the understanding of religious architecture. Morgan, a retired architect with expertise in liturgical design, started the organization in response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the subsequent climate of social tension, cultural misunderstanding and fear. She conceived the idea of religious architecture as a catalyst for interfaith dialogue and education. Without promoting any single faith or tradition, the organization seeks to use the common language of architecture as an educational means to foster reciprocal respect, awareness and appreciation of the different traditions that comprise our pluralistic society.

Visit Sacred Space International's website for more information.


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Published October 11, 2010

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