“If we lose our traditions we lose our identity.” - Father Sergio Robles
VALLEY — The San Luis Valley has been referred to as the cultural cradle of Colorado because of its roots in the establishment of Colorado and its long lasting traditions and values. This can be seen in the many communities around the Valley that have been established since the mid-1800s. This can definitely be seen in Colorado’s two oldest communities, San Luis and Conejos. San Luis is credited with being the oldest established town but there were small communities south of the valley that surrounded Conejos and were connected through a church, the oldest standing and active church in Colorado.
The Mission of San Miguel is located in New Mexico but still administered through Conejos. The original mission church was built roughly around the same time as the church in Conejos but in 1926 the church burned down and was rebuilt in 1928. Even though Our Lady of Guadalupe is the “Vatican” for the missions, they provided important services and tied together communities in the vast rural areas. This can be seen through the traditions and practices at the Mission of San Miguel that are still practiced today.
People in Conejos and in the San Luis Valley still practice and observe the traditions of San Miguel because it preserves the culture and the legacy of the families that settled and established life in the Valley. The youth in the community are kept involved in these traditions so that they are not forgotten and that they feel like they are part of it. All of the missions of Our Lady of Guadalupe are separate but yet are still connected even today. The Valley is continuously changing yet the traditions, cultural practices, and values have endured.
A documentary film series illustrates the traditions and values of the missions of Our Lady of Guadalupe and will lay out the story and the legacy of the San Luis Valley in Colorado.
Please help support this important project.
Caption: La Misión de San Miguel: St. Michael from the Mountain/Courtesy photo