Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Church

Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Church, Villanueva

Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Church

Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Church
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Religious Sites • Churches & Cathedrals
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mcintrav
Albuquerque, NM56 contributions
New Mexico hidden treasure
May 2015 • Friends
In May 2015 on the way to hike at the Villanueva State Park, my group stopped at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe to see the colcha tapestry that surrounds the interior of the whole small church. Colcha is a traditional folk art of wool thread on wool (sabanilla) cloth. The stiches tend to be larger and less "fine" than traditional silk thread embroidery.

This little church with its colcha tapestry is a hidden jewel. It is a simple country church with a rock front and white, stuccoed walls. Villanueva itself is just a wide spot in the road. In the early 1970's when interest in the US Bicentennial was high, the parish priest suggested that the community have a Bicentennial project. After discussion, the women decided to embroider a cocha tapestry that celebrated their faith and their community. 31 women from Villanueva and the mission churches it serves created 41 embroidered panels edged in dried chollo cactus. The panels run all the way around the church and up into the choir loft, a total of 265 feet.

The panels were individually designed and embroidered by the women whose names are woven into each panel. The "Mother Earth" or "Creation" is a riot of trees, rivers, streams and the animals that inhabit them. Other panels celebrate the arrival (and the departure) of nuns who once had a small convent there. Real people are shown and named. Community events are recognized such as saints days and "sacar el gallo" which in the past involved burying a poor rooster up to its head and the run riding by on their horses trying to snatch it out of the ground. The churches saints days are Santiago (James) when men make a special long horse ride and Santa Ana when the women do the horse ride. Several panels have traditional New Mexican "dichos" or sayings stitched into the panel. Panels depicting "penitentes" are hidden in the loft offering them the privacy that they prefer for their devotions. The borders around and between each panel are lovely as well.

This is an extraordinary display of faith and community using a very traditional folk art. Call ahead for a guide. The church suggests a donation of $5 per person. If you don't get an immediate response, keep trying. This church doesn't have staff and shares their priest with another church. The incredible squawking you hear will probably be the three peacocks that room the area. Also enjoy the soft serve ice cream at the country store across the street.
Written May 27, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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