Traditions

The Last Thing to Die Is Hope
El Santo Niño de Atocha
Letters of Faith

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.

Letters of Faith that Nourish our Lives
Here are some letters I´ve received.They have nourished my own faith and keep me going on my own little miracles in my daily life.These are true experiences that people have shared with me.

I hope they too will nourish the faith in your own life, just as they have in mine.

Mexico is a land of mysteries and miracles that many people still don´t know much about.

Portrait

El Santo Niño de Atocha
A Sickly Child
Hi John,
I found your site about the Santo Nino de Atocha very interesting, what I really would have loved to see would be the pictures of the many, many ofrendas that have been left at the shrine for the Santo Nino.

That was the most moving part of my own pilgimage to see the Santo Nino.

My son had always been a sickly child and at 6 months old his doctor decided it was time for him to have surgery. I was very upset and worried but I put my faith in God and promised the Santo Nino that if my son survived and got better I would make the pilgrimage to Fresnillo to present my son to him and leave a lock of my son's hair.

Thank God and the Santo Nino, my son survived and was cured.

Four months after his operation, my husband and I made the 35 hr. drive to Zacatecas and when we arrived to the main avenue my heart began to race and an overwhelming joy and greatfulness filled my entire body.

I was so humbled that I felt I needed to show the Santo Nino my gratitude and I decided to walk bare foot up to the first step of the church then crawl up the steps and to the altar on my knees.

At this time my son was only 10 mths. old and he took his first steps at the enterance of the church down towards the altar.

That day was life changing for me and I can remeber every moment as if it were yesterday. I just wanted to share with you the impact the Santo Nino had on me and to this day my son has a picture of the Santo Nino in his room and he talks to him everyday.

Just a couple of days ago, we celebrated All Saints Day at our church and my son decided he wanted to dress up like Santo Nino de Atocha and it just gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes to know that my son even though just 4 yrs. old feels a dedication or a special bond to the Santo Nino.

The Santo Nino has become a symbol of hope, fortitude, love, and dedication to our family.

"Jesus Manuel"
John,

Your articles and stories have been a pleasure to read. When I was born my Godmother gave me a small replica of the Santo Nino de Atocha, my mother said it was bacause when I was conceived my mother prayed that I would be born in good health. She was 30 years old at the time and was concerned about her first pregnancy.

Unfortunately when I was in Spain, May 2000, a pickpocket stole my wallet. That image was in there, I carried since I was about 14, and also an image of Virgen de Guadalupe that my mother gave when I entered the Air Force.

My mother by the grace of God is now 97 years old, in good health, strong of spirit, and continues to cook, iron and clean house for my youngest sister whom she lives with. I asked her about the name "Manuel" associated with The Santo Nino. She said that it is common knowledge in Mexico that the Santo's given name is "Jesus Manuel". She did not know if there is factual or documented evidence to this name.

Sincerely

Jesus G - I was named Jesus after the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Votive Candles to the Santo Niño de Atocha

Muddy Feet
John,

My mother and father prayed to el Santo Nino many years ago for a miracle.

My brother bit a thermometer when he was a baby and got glass in his mouth. My dad prayed to el Santo Nino for nothing to happen to him and he promised to take my brother to visit him. My brother was told by the doctors that it was a miracle that no glass was swallowed or cut any part of my brother's mouth.

Many years have passed and when my brother was in High School he was hit by a drunk driver and survived but was in critical condition.

My mother reminded my father that he never fulfilled his promise to el Santo Nino and he better take my brother if he lived through his accident. Thanks be to God, my brother survived and that Christmas my father and brother took a trip to Mexico to visit el Santo Nino.

Dad said when they arrived they went straight to the church and el Nino was gone. The people in the church told dad to come back later in the evening for the evening mass that he would get his chance to see el Santo Nino.

When dad and my brother arrived for the evening mass, dad said that they got a seat in the front row. At the end of the mass every one got a chance to come forward and kiss el Santo Nino's feet. Dad said he started to cry when he noticed el Santo Nino's feet were all muddy.

The parishioners said el Nino had been out and about and my father believed by the mud on his feet.

It was such a sad Christmas for my mother, my sister and I because we spent that Christmas alone. But when my brother and father came home from their trip, they were both glowing with such a loving peaceful look on their faces and dad was very emotional telling the story that we didn't tell them how sad we were. We were happy to hear their experience.

I've always wanted to make that trip. Now that will be my prayer. That someday my husband, family and I will be able to make that trip with my mother.

Thank you and please keep up the wonderful web site. May God bless you and el Santo Nino always be with you.

Chris

The Story of Don Jesús B.

John, mi nombre es Maria Elena y le escribo esta carta simplemente para compartir el milagro que nos concedio el Santo Niño de Atocha… de antemano le pido me disculpe por mis faltas de ortogafia.

Empezare por contarle lo siguiente mi Papa Jesús Becerra es un hombre de 69 años y ha sido diabético desde los 40+ anos mi papa siempre fue muy negligente con su enfermedad, muy raramente tomaba sus medicinas, eventualmente lo tuvieron que poner en insulina y fue entonces que tomo su enfermedad enserio, en el ano 2000 empezó a peder la vista tuvo dos implantes en los ojos asta la fecha esta considerado legalmente ciego, al poco tiempo sus riñones empezaron a fallar concluyendo en insuficiencia renal y posteriormente diálisis tres veces por semana.

La Aparición de un Niño a un Señor Ciego
En Julio 7 del presente ano después de estar mirando con frecuencia a un especialista de los pies a causa de un golpe que se dio en el dedo gordo de el pie derecho, termino por ser enviado al cuarto de emergencia (Banner Desert Medical Ctr) donde fue admitido a causa de que le cayo una infección y se le engangrenó el dedo, primeramente le pusieron stents en la pierna derecha con la esperanza de poder salvarle su pie…. pero fue inútil eventualmente le cortaron todos los dedos asta la mitad de el pie, durante su estancia en el Hospital su salud se complico, tuvo un derrame cerebral y estuvo muy grave dos o tres días, toda la familia pensamos que era el final, durante sus peores momentos el varias veces pregunto que quien era "ese Niño" que estaba al pie de su cama… nosotros llegamos a pensar que era nuestro hermano (freddy) que falleció en el 1992 ala corta edad de 16 anos. Oh que posiblemente mi papa miraba alguno de sus nietos, en fin así pasaron los días y semanas, asta que fue tiempo de salir del hospital.

El 22 de Julio le dieron de alta y fue transferido al una casa de rehabilitación donde solamente duró dos días porque aspiró liquido a sus pulmones, y de inmediato fue transferido de nuevo al hospital muy grave, al punto que los médicos reunieron a la familia porque no garantizaban que pasara de ese dia. Pero por la gracia y obra de dios de nuevo se salvo.

El 29 de Julio le dieron de nuevo de alta y esta ves fue transferido a otra casa de rehabilitación donde estuvo muy bien atendido, conforme pasaron los días era obvio que la amputación de los dedos no estaba sanando debidamente y la infección/gangrena no sedia.

El 11 de Agosto con el pesar de nuestro Corazón mi papa tuvo que regresar de nuevo el Hospital y esta vez le tuvieron que amputar su pierna derecha asta abajo de la rodilla. Unos días después la infección continuó atacando la pierna derecha y le tuvieron que hacer una revisión más a su pierna. Durante este tiempo la salud de mi padre fue deteriorándose al pasar de los días, surgieron mas problemas con sus pulmones, le estaban dando tratamientos respiratorios para aclarar el liquido que estaba reteniendo en los pulmones, aparte de eso de tanto estar en cama le resultaron llagas en las nalgas que se le estaban también infectando, mi papa poco hablaba la mayoría de las veces se quejaba de tanto dolor que tenia a causa de la amputación, lo mantenían a base de pastillas para el dolor el estaba semi inconsciente, asi pasaron aun mas semanas.

Un Niño que le Acompañaba en el Hospital
Durante este tiempo mi papa volvió a mirar a "ese Niño" que venia a visitarle pero que nadie veía mas que el nosotros pues le dábamos por su lado, simplemente dándole gracias a Dios cuando decía alguna palabra de vez en cuando, llegó un momento cuando el medico que le atendió mencionó "Hospice" diciendo que esa era una alternativa para mantener a mi papa confortable y sin dolor, ya que ellos (los médicos del hospital) habían hecho todo lo posible por el.

Así llego un día cuando toda la familia fue reunida en el Hospital con una persona mandada por "hospice" que muy amablemente vino a explicarnos lo que hace hospice y de la manera que ayudan a el paciente y apoyan a la familia del mismo en tiempos difíciles, la pregunta ahora era "CUANDO" íbamos a dar la autorización que el medico buscaba para hacer el traslado. Ninguno de nosotros teníamos el valor o el derecho de decidir hasta cuando viviría mi padre.

Uno de mis hermanos mayores Gerardo en compañía de Alma una querida amiga de la familia decidieron ir a Los Ángeles a su regreso trajeron un remedio y también una novena de el Santo Niño de Atocha. Con toda la fe de nuestra religión y con todo el Corazón empezamos a rezar la novena de El Santo Niño de Atocha, a la vez también le empezamos a dar un te hecho con el remedio que mi hermano y Alma trajeron de California, esa misma tarde mi papa comenzó a platicar y poco a poco al paso de los días empezó a mejorase, tan notoria fue su recuperación mental que los doctores determinaron que era hora de hacer el traslado a una casa de rehabilitación.

La Famila, Amigos, y conocidos Seguimos Rezándole al Santo Niño
El 1st de Septiembre fue trasladado a Select Specialties at Banner Mesa, donde fue agresivamente tratado con antibióticos y curaciones a su pierna amputada.

Allí paso casi todo el mes de Septiembre, a finales del mismo fue traslado a Mesa Rehab en Mesa General hospital, donde continuó con mas terapia para hacer fuertes sus brazos porque es lo que iba a usar más para poder trasladarse de la cama a la silla de ruedas, conforme pasaron los días fue evidente que la infección de la pierna amputada seguía avanzando y que los dedos de su pie izquierdo también se le estaban infectando, el medico decidió que fuera a una cita a ver al doctor ortopédico que lo estaba tratando por la amputación.

Cuando mi papa fue a ver al doctor este se sorprendió y se puso contento al mirar la mejoría física y mental de mi papa, al examinarle la pierna y el pie izquierdo su recomendación fue que mi papa iba a necesitar aun mas cirugía le tenia que cortar su pierna derecha arriba de la rodilla y le tendría que cortar el pie izquierdo abajo de la rodilla.… Malas noticias para la familia.

El Jueves 12 de Octubre un día antes de el traslado de mi papa el y mi madre estaban en el Lobby de el centro de rehabilitación, cuando mi mama se le ocurrió preguntarle a mi papa si el "Niño" que solía visitarlo había vuelto?

"El Niño con el Sombrerito"
Mi papa sorprendido volteó a verla y le dijo "fíjate que no" no ha vuelto. Mi mama entonces le preguntó; Jesús ahora que tu estas en tus cinco sentidos mentalmente dime quien era ese "Niño" descríbamelo acaso era freddy, Chente o Dianita.. quien era? Mi papa le contesto "No Lupe… no era alguien conocido" este "Niño estava chaparrito yo lo miraba al pie de mi cama de su pechito para arriba, caminando de un lado a otro, su color de piel era neutral y traía puesto un sombrerito" .

En ese momento mi mama no pudo contener el llanto y ansiosamente le pregunto a mi papa estas seguro Jesus estas seguro que asi se mirava ese "Niño" y mi papa le respondió que si… a esto mi mama le pregunto "has hablado con el?" y mi papa le respondió que no… que Dios no le dava licencia de preguntar nada, en ese momento mi mama exclamo "Vendito se Dios" Jesus el Niño que te a estado visitando asi como lo describes es "El Santo Niño de Atocha" .

John algo que te quiero decir es que mi papa esta legalmente ciego de los dos ojos pero aun asi pudo distinguir y describir a El Santo Niño de Atocha… para nosotros esto no es nada mas que un verdadero MILAGRO.

La Fe continuaba y la familia, amigos, y conocidos seguimos orando al Santo Niño
Octubre 13 mi papa fue transferido una vez mas a otra casa de cuidado a esperar el dia de la cirugía que estaba pronosticado para el 20 de octubre. La noche antes de la cirugía vino mi hermano Daniel y estuvo mucho rato platicando con mi papa y encomendándolo a Dios para que todo saliera bien… finalmente el dia llego….

Esa mañana yo estuve allí con mi padre para acompañarlo al hospital, pero antes de esto le llame a mis hermanos en Guadalajara a Gerardo y Hilario …Gerardo que se fue después del milagro que nos hizo porque quería ir a darle las gracias personalmente al Santo Niño.

Después que mi papa habló con ellos le rezamos al Santo Niño para que todo saliera bien. Mi papa les dio la vendicion y nos despedimos… yo prometiéndoles que en cuanto saliera de la operación les llamaría. Después le llamamos a mi hermano menor Javier el mas sentimental de todos mis hermanos, el y mi Madre iban a encontrase conmigo en el hospital para que yo no estuviera allí sola.

Confianza en el Santo Niño
Debo agregar que mi Madre el dia antes de la cirugía me hizo una recomendación… "Hija asegúrate que el Doctor le mira su pie y su pierna a tu papa antes de la cirugia…" "Yo tengo la confianza en Dios y el Santo Niño" que a tu papa no le van hacer nada en sus pies… a lo cual yo le respondí que no se preocupara que yo me iba a asegurar que el doctor examinara bien a mi papa antes de la cirugía… pero le rogué a mi mama que no hiciera ese comentario en frente de mi papa para no darle falsas esperanzas.

Llegamos al hospital tranquilo mi Padre al igual que yo hicimos y firmamos todos papeles necesarios para la cirugía, el momento llego El Doctor entró nos saludó a ambos y dijo: " Ok el plan es cortar el pie izquierdo abajo de la rodilla y la pierna derecha arriba de la rodilla bien."

A lo que yo le contesté, correcto eso era el plan dos semanas atrás cuando miraste a mi papa en consulta, pero me imagino que lo vas a examinar?

El respondió si claro el medico prosiguió a remover las vendas de el pie izquierdo y a examinarlo detenidamente y empezó a descarapelar parte de la piel muerta de los dedos y exclamo!

Buenas Noticias
"Sabes la ulcera que tenia en el pie ya casi le esta sanando y parase que tiene piel Buena abajo de esta piel muerta que le removí… posteriormente dijo "Jesús hoy día tu no vas a perder tu pie." A lo mejor en un futuro , si lo pierdas! Pero hoy dia, NO. "

En seguida prosiguió a examinar la pierna derecha y exclamo! Pues no tiene infección se mira muy bien lo único que voy hacer es quitarle la piel mala que tiene para prevenir que se le infecte y es todo en una hora o menos esta de vuelta… !!!

Mi Papa y yo no pudimos contener las lagrimas de la felicidad que sentimos cuando el doctor nos dio esa BUENA noticia para entonces yo ya le había puesto la estampita de el Santo Niño en la bolsa de la bata del hospital para que lo acompañara durante la cirugía.

Sali muy contenta de alli inmediatamente le llame a mis hermanos en Guadalajara con la buenísima noticia, también le llamé a mi mama y el resto de la familia… mi papa salio bien de la cirugía y hasta ahorita domingo 29 de Octubre mi padre sigue bien de salud Gracias al milagro que nos concedió El Santo Niño de Atocha.

Con mucho respeto

Maria Elena

Mesa Arizona

María Elena, gracias por compartir esta historia con nosotros. Espero que le da ánimos a otras personas que están sufriendo de algo parecido.

John

Perhaps the Statue of the Santo Niño de Atocha goes to the one who needs Him the most

Hello John,
I'm writing to you in response to that Santo Nino my mother was twelve years old when she was walking in a market in Cd. Juarez Chihuahua and this lady approached her because my mother had been adoring the santo and the lady asked her if she would like to purchase it my mother told her that she didn't have enough money to buy it but that she would see if she could buy it later.

The lady told my mother to take it and to pay her in payments so that she could have it. My mother purchased the santo and carried it with her always she married my father which she later was divorced from and moved to California from El Paso, Texas my mother met this man and married him he was from Zacatecas Mexico and had served in the milatary here in the states and abroad.

They had two daughters and raised her five children to be Roman Catholics although we were all babtized catholic from birth we had not really been aware of the Santo until the death of my mother due to cancer.

She battled with this illness for many years I was about 13 years old when she was diagnosed with it. My mother lived to be 67 years old and that was about 30 years later. My sister has this beautiful portrait of the Santo wich illuminates at night when it is dark in the room it is alittle bit worn from age but it still is visible.

My mother had initially given me the Santo but my sister insisted that she wanted it so she took it after her death. I would like to have one only that I would like to have it be from the shrine of the Santo how I wish that my sister would not be so selfish to that and give it to me because she knows very well that my mother had given it to me.

Well, there is my story about the Santo Niño.

Always yours in christ,
Lucia 8-19-07

Lucia, thank you for sharing your story.

Sometimes people can´t talk about things and carry with them secrets and special burdens that are unknown to anyone else. These are the private sufferings of many people that we must respect.

There are times when I, too, look for the reasons why these things happen, but a man in Mexico once told me that the Santo Niño de Atocha is with the one who needs Him the most.

And sometimes, we are more fortunate than we realize, and we forget the things we need to be thankful for.

John

I just bought a statue of Nino de atocha? WHY???
Hi John-
You don't know me, I was browsing in a Catholic shop and found this darling little statue of this little guy and asked the shopkeeper about him.

He said he is Nino de Atocha, I said, ok that’s nice, I said, who is he? He told me a few facts, and I thought I must find out more, and so I want to give him to my sister, who has no religion but loves interesting objects no matter what the religion.

So, please pray for her, her name is A..., I will give her the statue tonight at her birthday party, but if you can send me more info about Nino, I'd appreciate it, and I can send it to her.

Right now I am going to tell her he works miracles but that all I know and that he appears when people have no hope, that he brings them hope. Her son age 31 brings her much pain, and has a lot of turmoil in his life, and she cannot take his moods anymore so I want her to know that God never takes his eyes off us for one second. Iam hoping Nino will help. I do believe he will. Is this ok?

ciao- j...

J..., thank you for sharing your story.

Sometimes, we come across things we don´t understand. One of my friends here in Veracruz says that we shown the path to take, and that nothing happens by coincidence. It happens because it is supposed to happen that way.

It may be that the little statue is for your sister. If she doesn´t want it, then perhaps it was really meant for you.

Sometimes, I don´t understand these things until much later, and it´s hard to wait. Be patient and eventually you will find out the reason why.

John

The Memories of a Little Girl
Hello Mr. John,

I WAS AT WORK TODAY AND ALL OF A SUDDEN MY MIND BEGAN TO WANDER TO A FAR OFF PLACE……………………..A WONDERFUL PLACE THAT OUR FATHER WOULD TAKE US TOO EVERY SUMMER AFTER SCHOOL WAS OUT AND ALL OF US SIX KIDS WERE LITTLE. THE LAST TIME I EVER WENT THERE AGAIN WAS IN MAY OF 1985. That place is called, Fresnillo, Zacatecas.

I decided to look up the town on Google and came across your website about PLATEROS and the Santo Nino de Atocha. It wasn’t long before I became teary eyed and in disbelief that the PLACE that my father took us too that I was totally amazed with all my life, was in front of me on my computer.

I read the whole thing and enjoyed your story of your experience. I have always kept the Santo Nino de Atocha picture in my room and my sons room. My daughter is grown now, but she had a picture of him too. Although they never had an opportunity to go to Mexico, I am printing your story and pictures so that they can enjoy what I enjoyed reading.

I remember our trips to Fresnillo , oh how we looked forward to it every summer, and especially because My parents would take us 6 kids to Plateros to see El Santonino de atocha. I remember my Dad was driving towards Plateros and I would see people who were walking beside the long highway towards the church on foot and on their knees. I felt so bad for those people and wondered, what a sacrifice they were making and I asked my mother what they were doing she explained to me and that is when I learned what PLATEROS and the Santo Nino de Atocha was all about.

When we would arrive at the church we would go and look around at the silver & gold vendors which back then it was really cheap and My father would always buy all of us kids a small gold chain with little medallions of the Santo Nino as our “recuerdo de plateros, which means a souvenir or in remembrance of our yearly trip. After we would return to the Texas, I treasured that necklace he bought me and one afternoon I ended up losing it during a back yard football game with my brothers, I searched and searched and nothing, I cried. I never found it.

I also remember how fascinated I was with all the pictures of people that drew the miracle of what the Santo Nino did for them in their lives and how much I enjoyed reading them all and enjoying the drawings and I would be in total amazement walking beside my father and mother and reading looking up at the ceiling .. the pictures are all over the walls and ceilings... I was just a little girl but I will never forget that miraculous place as long as I live. Oh how I long so much to go back there, it is a part of my life and heritage that I will never let go of and will forever be embedded in my memory….

I want to plan a trip and go to Fresnillo Zacatecas ONCE more before I die and see just how much it has changed. It is a place where I grew up and had the most wonderful times of my life. I remember my grandfather coming to visit. He lived in a RANCH outside of the city limits of Fresnillo and we would hear a bell that would sound from the Mule that would be pulling his wagon, his only transportation he wanted and needed. We loved our Grandpa and would be so happy when we would hear that bell from a mile away and all of us kids would be waiting to see his wagon turn the corner to come towards our house and we would run up and walk beside his wagon. He has passed away and lived to be 106 years old.

My father is still alive and well and so is my mother. I appreciate you taking the time out of your life to explore this magnificent place that thousands of people DID NOT know about PLATEROS and FRESNILLO Zacatecas because when I was a kid, there were hardly any tourists and not so much” people” traffic. At the age of 4I….. I never thought that I would live to see a piece of history on the internet and I am BLESSED TO have the opportunity to SEE SUCH A WONDERFUL PART OF MY CHILDHOOD finally ON THE WEB!!!!!!

I hope you enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed reading yours. May god bless you and your family in your travels.

Maria De Jesus

María, thank you for sharing your childhood memories with us. I think there are also a lot of other people who will enjoy your story as much as I have. Thank you again for writing.

John

The Vision of a Sick Child in a Hopeless Situation
Hola!
Mi nombre es Gerardo. Resido en Houston, Texas desde los 14 anos de edad. Soy nacido en Yuriria, Guanajuato, Mexico y hoy es la primera vez que veo su articulo sobre el Santisimo Niño de Atocha.

Sabe cuando yo tenía 10 anos fui internado en el hospital militar de Irapuato por mas de 3 semanas. Los medicos no daban esperenzas de vida y mi familia. Me cuenta que el dia que mi padre llegó de Houston, yo desperté por primera vez y hable con mi padre preguntando preguntas a las cuales el solo sabia las respuestas puesto que el se quedó sorprendido y me pregunto como yo sabia de ello.

Yo le dije que yo lo habia visto en Houston y que un señor mayor con un cesto de fruta y un canasto grande lleno de pan llamado Emanuel me habia ayudado a vencer una señora alta delgada y rubia la cual queria matarme con un punal.

El señor me dijo que el vivia en Zacatecas y que me iba a estar esperando cuando yo saliera de hospital.

Mis padres lloraron y cuando me dieron de alta fuimos a Plateros, Zacatecas, y cuando mire el Santo Niño de Atocha supe que era el el mismo señor que me había salvado en mis delirios cuando estaba enfermo.

Doy gracias al Santo Niño de Atocha por tan gran milagro y daria mi vida por el si el me necesitara en algun momento. Espero volver pronto para verlo de nuevo.

Gracias por traer su imagen a nosotros por medio de su pagina dios lo bendiga!!!!

Gerardo

A Trip to Europe in High School
Dear John,
Back in 1993, I had finished my sophomore year in high school. We had an English teacher who wanted to take students on a trip to Europe during the Summer months. All the students were part of the Drama class. I had lost my father the previous year and my mother didn't make the wages that would allow me to go on the trip.

A Wise Lady
Realistically, my chances of going to Europe were slim to none. I had a friend who had been raised by nuns in an orphanage in Mexico. When I met her she was a mature woman with several kids, one being my age at the time. She became our sponsor for the youth group at our church and soon I found I could confide in her. She was a very wise lady. I was amazed at her wisdom and her devotion as a Christian. I soon confided in her that I hoped to travel to Europe however, didn't think I could raise the money for the trip. She told me she would pray a novena to the Santo Niño de Atocha and if it was God's will, then I would go.

A Miracle Loan
A week before I had to send the final payment for the trip, the school superintendent heard of my story. He agreed to co-sign a loan for me. I was surprised when I went to the bank and I was asked how much money I needed. I only borrowed what I thought was necessary but the banker was willing to lend me more. I paid the loan back and this allowed me to build my credit as a young man.

A Visit to the Vatican
To make a long story short, I got to go to Europe. When the group arrived in Rome, we went to the Vatican. As we were in line to enter the Vatican, some of us boys were horsing around, but as soon as I stepped inside the Vatican, I became overwhelmed by a sense of holiness. It was an overwhelming feeling I can't explain. I have never forgotten that experience.

When I returned, I shared the story with my friend. She told me that she kept praying for my safe return. She also told me that she was able to visualize being with me during my trip. My friend died some years back, but her faith and the miracles I experienced as a result of the novena to Santo Nino de Atocha will never ever be forgotten.

Thank you for your story as well.

Sincerely,

Jerry

Remembering a Great Grandmother Each Year on the 16th of December
hi, I was reading your article and I have to say it is very well written and very easy to read.

Well, when I finished reading I stumbled upon Nellies letter and I gotta tell you I got the chills when I read it and more so now that I´m writing this email...

Yesterday was the start of the novena for the Santo Niño de Atocha. In my family we pray to him every year, since the 18th century. He has been a part of my life since I was born.

Putting the Santo Niño to Sleep at Christmas
Every 16th of December we started the novena at my great grandmother´s house, and when she passed away my grandmother inherited him, and the tradition. I feel ashamed to admit but I really never paid much attention to the readings during the novena when I was younger and as I got older I really didnt see the importance of the novena. These last 3 or 4 years I only went on Christmas Eve to pray and put the Santo Niño to sleep.

A Special Mass Each Year
Well, my grandmother every year has a mass in remembrance of my great grandmother passing away which is always the Sunday before or after Thanksgiving. This year 2009, I asked my grandma if she wanted me to make her a funeral cd of my great grandma since one was never made for her anniversary mass and she said yes. She wanted to me to include a video back from 1992. My mom video taped my great grandmother, asking her when she received the Niño de Atocha, and how long she has prayed to him.

That was the last Christmas she prayed to him. She died the next year in November. When I saw the video I became very emotional and ashamed because I felt I was erasing a very important part of my family history by not showing up to pray every day as I should have been doing. So, I told my mom I was going to go every year from now on because now at 27 I am understanding what that Niño de Atocha meant to my ancestors.

Well, back to the reason I wrote this email, sorry I had to give you the background so you could understand why I got the chills when I read Nellie´s letter.

Yesterday
When I was at my grandma´s house yesterday, I sat right by grandma, and I was following along while she began to read from her prayer book. In the prayer book it says that the little boy who goes out and does the miracles is named Manuel de Atocha.

His Name is Manuel
For some reason I grasped that, and I came home and told my mom that I didnt know that the Niño was named Manuel, and she didn't know either, we both always thought his first name was Jesus. Well then after I left my grandma´s house today I still was very curious and I couldn´t sleep, so I started Googling the Santo Niño to get more background info, and that´s how I sent you this letter.

I hope you can get this letter to Nellie, or somehow let her know, well unless someone else already told her. I just felt I was supposed to write this email.

Thanks, María
(and the irony, that my name is the same as the Niño's mother)

María, thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope one day Nellie will see your letter and that maybe one day you can go to see the shrine yourself. You will come away from the experience as a changed person. Thank you again for writing.

John

A Call to Devotion:
Here´s a letter from Sylvia:

Hi John: Lately I have felt the Niño de Atocha calling me into devotion. I asked the Holy Child for a sign if in fact He was calling out to me.

That evening my husband came home from his mother's home. She passed away a month ago and her children are going through the difficult process of taking care of all her personal belongings.

He told me he left me an antique picture in the living room. When I went to see what it was, it was a picture of the Santo Niño de Atocha. I guess this was my answer!

I would really like to have a Novena in English.Are you aware of any? I have found several on the internet in Spanish, but I prefer to read in English. Are there any in English?

Sylvia

My Reply:
Sylvia, Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I don´t know of any official prayer to the Santo Niño de Atocha, but this is the prayer on the side of the votive candle they sell here in Mexico.

Another Letter from Sylvia:
John: I did find this prayer in English. I really like it.

On Christmas morning I prayed to the Santo Niño. I turned on the TV to watch Mother Angelica on EWTN. The topic: THE SANTO NIÑO DE ATOCHA!!!!

I really really need a prayer in English. Anyway, this is the one I am currently saying.

Sylvia

Remembering a Great Grandmother Each Year on the 16th of December
hi, I was reading your article and I have to say it is very well written and very easy to read.

Well, when I finished reading I stumbled upon Nellies letter and I gotta tell you I got the chills when I read it and more so now that I´m writing this email...

Yesterday was the start of the novena for the Santo Niño de Atocha. In my family we pray to him every year, since the 18th century. He has been a part of my life since I was born.

Putting the Santo Niño to Sleep at Christmas
Every 16th of December we started the novena at my great grandmother´s house, and when she passed away my grandmother inherited him, and the tradition. I feel ashamed to admit but I really never paid much attention to the readings during the novena when I was younger and as I got older I really didnt see the importance of the novena. These last 3 or 4 years I only went on Christmas Eve to pray and put the Santo Niño to sleep.

A Special Mass Each Year
Well, my grandmother every year has a mass in remembrance of my great grandmother passing away which is always the Sunday before or after Thanksgiving. This year 2009, I asked my grandma if she wanted me to make her a funeral cd of my great grandma since one was never made for her anniversary mass and she said yes. She wanted to me to include a video back from 1992. My mom video taped my great grandmother, asking her when she received the Niño de Atocha, and how long she has prayed to him.

That was the last Christmas she prayed to him. She died the next year in November. When I saw the video I became very emotional and ashamed because I felt I was erasing a very important part of my family history by not showing up to pray every day as I should have been doing. So, I told my mom I was going to go every year from now on because now at 27 I am understanding what that Niño de Atocha meant to my ancestors.

Well, back to the reason I wrote this email, sorry I had to give you the background so you could understand why I got the chills when I read Nellie´s letter.

Yesterday
When I was at my grandma´s house yesterday, I sat right by grandma, and I was following along while she began to read from her prayer book. In the prayer book it says that the little boy who goes out and does the miracles is named Manuel de Atocha.

His Name is Manuel
For some reason I grasped that, and I came home and told my mom that I didnt know that the Niño was named Manuel, and she didn't know either, we both always thought his first name was Jesus. Well then after I left my grandma´s house today I still was very curious and I couldn´t sleep, so I started Googling the Santo Niño to get more background info, and that´s how I sent you this letter.

I hope you can get this letter to Nellie, or somehow let her know, well unless someone else already told her. I just felt I was supposed to write this email.

Thanks, María
(and the irony, that my name is the same as the Niño's mother)

María, thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope one day Nellie will see your letter and that maybe one day you can go to see the shrine yourself. You will come away from the experience as a changed person. Thank you again for writing.

John

It Started with a Donation:
Hola Señor John,
Yo quiero compartir algo my especial que me paso…

Hace algunos meses yo me sentía muy triste y desesperada no sabia que hacer pues me sentía muy vacía por dentro. Me faltaba algo!

Ese dia entre a la cocina de mi casa y por primera vez mire una imagen de El Santo Nino De Atocha. (Esa imagen a estado ahí en la cocina de mi casa por varios años pero a mí nunca me había llamado la atención mirarla).

De pronto sentí el deseo de saber sobre El Santo Nino De Atocha. Le pregunte a mi mama sobre los Milagros de el Santo Nino De Atocha pero me dijo que no sabía mucho, solamente que el santo tiene su iglesia en Zacatecas y que a veces se viaja de su altar para salir a ayudar a quien lo necesita.

Wow! Dije yo. Como me gustaría que algún día se me apareciera a mí. Sería tan bonito mirar a El Nino de Atocha con su capita, su sombrerito y su canastita. Pero en fin, yo soy tan pecadora que un milagro como ese nunca me va a pasar a mí…

Más tarde me puse a buscar más información sobre el Nino De Atocha porque dentro de mí todavía sentía la necesidad de saber más sobre El y así fue como encontré esta web site.

Me puse a leer las historias que las demás personas compartieron y me quede sorprendida, pues todo es tan real. Dios existe! El Santo Nino De Atocha Existe!

Inmediatamente le llame a mi hermana para que me prestara la novena de El Santo Nino, me puse a rezar la novena nada más por curiosidad y porque todavía, yo quería saber más de Él, de sus milagros y me encanto lo que dice la novena. Es una de las novenas más hermosas que yo he rezado.

Unos días después, ya que yo había encontrado la información que buscaba sobre el Santo Nino decidí mandarle una donación a su iglesia.

Al día siguiente de que mande la donación llega mi sobrino de 11 anos a mi casa queriéndome dar un abrazo (el nunca me da abrazos) y yo como no soy una persona muy afectuosa le dije "no! ve a darle todos los abrazos que quieras a tu mama" pero, el estuvo todo el día insistiendo para darme un abrazo. " Y yo no quise!"

En la tarde del día siguiente fui con mi hermano y mi hermana a un grupo de oración a la iglesia. Estando ahí una señora me da una palmadita con su mano en la espalda y yo volteo para ver quién es y me dice "te puedo dar un abrazo de parte de Jesús" yo pensé rápidamente que hago, y le dije como no queriendo "OK".

Ya cuando veníamos de regreso para mi casa le pregunte a mi hermana" que trae todo mundo queriéndome dar abrazos? En el grupo había como 200 personas, porque la señora no te dio el abrazo a ti, o a mi hermano, O a las otras personas que estaban con ella. Por qué a mi?

"Mi hermana me dijo "porque Jesús te quería dar un abrazo a ti"

Y yo pensé "pero porque a mí?" Entonces pensé "Ooooh, my God" Y empecé a llorar. Todo empezó con la donación que mandé.

Recordé que mi sobrino había tratado todo el día de darme un abrazo y yo no quise. El Santo Nino por medio de mi sobrino (que no trae una capita puesta, no trae un sombrerito, ni tampoco trae una canastita) quería darme un abrazo y como yo no quise entonces mando a la señora al grupo para que me diera el abrazo.

Cuando llegué a mi casa fui a buscar a mi sobrino para darle un abrazo…. Ya después le platique a mi familia todo lo que me había pasado.

"Dios nos hace milagros cada segundo, pero a veces estamos tan ciegos que no los vemos."

P.S. I really like this little comment that you wrote "Sometimes, we come across things we don't understand, and that nothing happens by coincidence. It is supposed to happen that way."

Thank you for your website!

Gracias

Cecilia

A Santo Niño in France
Hi John,
Read your article with interest. Was traveling in France in the early 90's and it was my first trip abroad. I had crossed the English Channel to Calais and was enroute to study French in Lille. I had studied for two years already, but when I got to France I understood very little and had a horrible time making myself understood.

I had missed my train to Lille and when the next train arrived, some sort of announcement was made, which I didn't understand. I ask repeatedly if anyone could tell me in English what was going on.

A young man, who introduced himself as Nino appeared in the crowd. He helped me to get on the right train, gave me food and water, and used his own coins in Lille to help me call the family who I was supposed to stay with. He stayed with me until they arrived at the station a good hour or so. He refused any compensation for his help.

My mom always said he was an angel sent by God to help me. Later, I looked to see if there were any saints called Nino and I think St. Nino de Atocha would fit his description. Although it wasn't a chid, but a young man, who really didn't want to talk very much about himself who helped me.

Sincerely,

Denise

Hi Denise,
Thank you for sharing your story with us. In my own life, I remembered the times I was "lost" in Mexico, and people appeared from nowhere to help me.
John

Faith, Hope, and Devotion to the Santo Niño de Atocha
Hi John,
My name is Sandy. I came across your website dedicated to Santo Niño de Atocha and felt compelled to write you. I have been a devoted follower of Ninito de Atocha since I was in college. He has helped me through my roughest times. He has given peace and love in my life. I have children now and have talked to them about him and feel its important for them to have faith. I have requested many things from him and not once has he failed me. I have yet to visit him in Plateros. My goal is to go when my baby is 5 years old.

When my sister was going through hard times, I took her to Placita Olvera in Los Angeles, I told her not to get scared but to go with an open heart and to ask him for whatever she felt she needed at the time. When we arrived she knelt down and after less than a minute she stood up a little startled. She said she had never felt anything like it before. She felt this feeling through her body. She felt his presence. I told her that is what I have felt which was why I said not to be scared. Since then she gave birth to 2 beautiful children and is happy.

I thank him every time I think about him and that's at least 3 times a day. I plan on making a little shrine in my back yard. I promised him that. My dad gave me a beautiful statue of the Niño de Atocha on my baby shower which is in my baby's room watching over her. That's the statue I will make a shrine for, this way I can always have fresh flowers as my gratitude for all he does for me and my family on a daily basis.

Sincerely,

Sandy

Santo Niño de Atocha in Zuni, New Mexico and the "Floating" Sensation
Dearest John,
The joy and wonder I have just received through your gift of sight and knowledge to the world shall assuredly bring about an increase of peace in the hearts of men.

My name is "E" and this is my recent experience which includes your wonderful contribution. I am ill and could not decide wether to go to Zuni, New Mexico on pilgrimage to the Santo Niño de Atocha which has been there since the Franciscans and Spanish Conquistadors came from Spain in the late 1500s.

My maternal ancestry dates back to that time as well. I am the genealogogist of the family. My mother was born in Gallup NM and had a great devotion to the Santo Niño in Zuni. She was killed in 1974 and the yearly pilgrimage from Los Angeles to Zuni stopped.

In 2004 she came to me and said, "Get the feet walking back to New Mexico!" I did and family pilgrimages resumed. I've been unable to go and this past Sunday I asked the Santo Niño to tell me to go or stay home. I heard nothing. I knew to wait. He would answer.

Monday my friend came late to visit me and told me that 3 weeks ago she was instructed (during prayer) to "buy for "E" a statue of the Santo Nino who must be dressed all in white and take it to her."

She was born in Los Plateros, Mexico and was planning a trip back home. She went, found exactly what she was told to bring back to me. When she had related her story she unwrappeg the statue, handed Him to me and I was completely stunned when my Santo Nino said to me, "Stay home, for I have come to YOU!"

The journey of faith, obedience and grace I held and received caused me to "float." Not until this morning did I have the recollection of self to learn about Los Plateros. I looked up Los Plateros and found your website. I am astonished anew because I didn't know about any of it. I also was flabbergasted when my friend said she bought the statue on October 8 which is my mother's date of birth AND from your research Oct 8 is when the silver mine was discovered.

Thank you deeply for yor generous contribution. You touch souls through it. I am one if them.

Thank You.

"E"

My Reply to "E":
I'm glad you've been enjoying my web site story about the Santo Niño de Atocha. For me it has also been an inspiring experience. I visited the shrine to the Santo Niño de Atocha in Chimayo, New Mexico where they have the "healing sand" and brought some home as a souvenir. It is a beautiful little chapel smelling of piñon. And it was only later that I learned that there was another shrine at Zuni, which is the one you referred to.

When I visited the Santo Niño in Plateros, Mexico, I also felt the unusual "floating" sensation that stayed with me for about 2 weeks. So, I know what you are talking about! I thought I was the only one! I am wondering if you felt the same thing at Zuni?

"E's" Reply to me:
I forgot to tell you that no pictures are allowed in zuni of the Santo Nino. I don't know why.

I also have sand from Chimayo as well and it's under the foot of my Santo Nino. He came to me barefoot so I made him little shoes. :D

Portrait

El Santo Niño de Atocha
PRAYER TO EL SANTO NIÑO

Oh Miraculous Infant of Atocha!
Cast Thy merciful look upon my troubled heart, so inclined to pity.

Be softened by my prayer, and grant me these favors which I ardently implore of Thee:

(Mention your requests).

Take from me all affliction and despair, all trials and misfortunes with which I am laden.

For Thy Sacred Infancy's sake, send me now the consolation and aid and grace that I may praise Thee with the Father and Holy Ghost, forever and ever. Amen

Oh Divine Child of Atocha, please hear my prayer, and grant my petition.

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