Elvera Vigil Ogard

A pinkish-brown adobe chapel stands against the deep blue New Mexican sky.

NPS Photo

" . . . . people do come together because of the love they have for this building and this setting. I think the love also comes from the stories that are told about it. But if the stories don't get told you lose it, and if you don't have a place like this, the stories don't get told." Elvera Vigil Ogard

A smiling silver-haired woman in a lavender-colored blouse leans on a wooden altar inside the cool dark of the small chapel.

NPS Photo

Elvera Vigil Ogard spent her early childhood on the banks of the Rio Grande in the shadow of the sacred Black Mesa in northern New Mexico. She lived in Pajarito, a small Hispanic community on land homesteaded by her grandparents. Her family built a small adobe chapel, La Capilla de la Sagrada Familia, which served as the community's center for many years. After her family moved from the area, the church was abandoned and gradually deteriorated.
A wooden door, framed by the darkness inside the church, opens out onto a brick porch and the bright sun of the outdoors.

NPS Photo

Family members and other supporters have come together to restore the chapel with help from Cornerstones Community Partnerships. Cornerstones works with rural communities across New Mexico to restore locally valued historic structures, encourage traditional building practices, and reinforce cultural values. Working nearly every weekend for a year and a half, Elvie and others have rebuilt La Capilla de la Sagrada Familia, which once again has become a gathering place for the community.

Last updated: June 26, 2018

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