La Conquistadora – The reason for Fiestas de Santa Fe

I love Fiestas de Santa Fe. And I love that we do it to honor La Conquistadora, the oldest madonna brought to the U.S. long before it was the U.S. – in 1625. In 1680, during the Pueblo Revolt when the Spanish settlers were driven out of Santa Fe by the Native Americans, this sweet little statue was rescued, wrapped, and carried by the settlers to El Paso, where she sat quietly blessing her rescuers, waiting to return to Santa Fe.

DSCN0125-001In 1692, after 12 years in exile, Don Diego de Vargas made an exploratory run back to Santa Fe and met peacefully (so we hear) with the Native Americans now in charge. The next year he returned, bringing Our Lady with him, camping outside of town and praying for a peaceful reentry to the city. He and his followers camped near what is now the Rosario Chapel. The Spaniards overpowered the locals and retook Santa Fe in a bloodless conquest.

So now we celebrate, with Pueblos in attendance and heavily involved. And La Conquistadora is center stage. She gets a new outfit every day and she’s carried around on the shoulders of the faithful. Watch closely – you’ll see her somewhere in town every day this week. Masses are said in her honor and processions follow her everywhere.

More tomorrow. Viva la Fiesta!

Bunny Terry 505.504.1101

20 Vereda Serena Santa Fe, NM 87508