Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - Velarde Mission Church

Between Pillar and Espanola on the historic El Camino Real, at the turnoff for route 41,  there is a weathered sign for a mission church. It points off toward the Rio Grande and a town called Velarde. The sign was so worn with age and the elements that it was only partially legible. The morning was typically New Mexican, bright, clear, beautiful, and we decided to see if we could find the church. We drove down some back roads, but found no more signs suggesting which way to go. We guessed and backtracked a few times, and finally found this little church at the end of a well worn, washboard dirt road a few hundred yards up the river bank from the Rio Grande.


September 18, 1999

Iglesia de la Virgen de Guadalupe Mission Church

Velarde, New Mexico


Iglesia de la Virgen



.........Velarde, New Mexico


September 18, 1999


September 18, 1999


The Altar

The Iglesia de la Virgen de Guadalupe Mission Church in Velarde, New Mexico was the simplest of all the churches we saw.

The church had no hand carved altar or fine altar screen or boltos or Santos, such as those at San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe.

Instead this little church had a simple wooden table for its altar, and a plain crucifix served in place of an ornate altar screen.


Stained Glass Window

The stained glass windows, too, are simple. 

The contrast between these windows and the lovely, fragile, ornate stained glass at the Loretto Chapel or the splendid windows at St. Francis Cathedral is great.

Perhaps the most touchingly sad memory I have of New Mexico is the picture in my mind of a hole in one of the window panes that the church was too poor to replace.



September 18, 1999


Email: Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten