Sometimes, getting caught up in a perilous situation is how we learn of God’s wondrous power. That’s the legacy of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at Los Ojos, a quaint northern New Mexico village deeply rooted in the faith.
As one story goes, around the turn of the 20th century, Josefa Gallegos Burns–the Spanish wife of Irish mercantile merchant T. D. Burns–lost control of her buggy coming down a steep hill into Los Ojos.
“Help,” Josefa screamed, as the horse tore down the slope. “Help!”
Farmers and shepherds in the fields below heard Josefa’s piercing cries. Looking up, they gasped at the runaway buggy, made the Sign of the Cross, and began to pray. It’s said that as soon as the prayers had left their lips, the buggy righted itself and the horse slowed to a halt. Josefa escaped unharmed.
“Miracle!” everyone exclaimed. “It’s a miracle!”
While Josefa dreamed of erecting a grotto of thanksgiving, her children brought it to pass. Completed in 1919, the stone grotto–listed in the National Register of Historic Places–is nestled in the hillside along the road that nearly took Josefa’s life. A white statue of Our Lady of Lourdes stands on a rock ledge, a white statue of Bernadette praying at her feet. Rosaries and colorful flowers adorn the grotto walls, while prayer petitions are tucked into rock crevices.
Illuminated at night, the grotto is a beacon of hope for all who pass by … that heaven hears and answers prayer–sometimes in the form of a miracle.
Adapted from Shrines and Wonders: The Pilgrim’s Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico (Amor Deus Publishing)
Copyright 2017 by Marion Amberg