The Old Church in Doña Ana, New Mexico

Church, Doña Ana, New Mexico, Sonja Sonnenburg 2018

In 1911, a Catholic priest at Doña Ana, New Mexico took an inventory of church property at Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria.[1]  He started his list:

1 adobe church with tower.

2 tower bells

one ladder. 

He noted a four-room adobe home at the rear of the church, and another adobe home once owned by a priest.

He listed handmade furniture in the church: an altar, benches, and a communion rail.

The priest described some objects in the adobe church and the rear residence as “cheap” or “Not in good order.” Yet, these objects were precious.  

One of these objects in the church — as described by the priest — was a “3 ft. statue of blessed virgin, indian stile, in dresses.”[2]  Yes, precious. 

Today, Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria still stands because of the skilled work and dedication of many people of the Doña Ana community, generation after generation.[3]  The church is the people. 


[1] The church was built in the mid-1800s.  For background on the Candelaria tradition, see Sonja Sonnenburg de Chávez, The Candelaria Tradition in Doña Ana, New Mexico, Linealist: New Mexico History and Archive Projects,

[2] Rev. M. Gerey, Inventory, Doña Ana, July 1911, within Registra Baptismorum, Matrimoniorum et Defuntctorum, Doña Ana, New Mexico

[3] See About Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria,; Nuestra Señora de la Purification,


%d bloggers like this: