We serve the needs of the Diocese, the Ecumenical community and fellow seekers by providing hospitality and spiritual growth in a peaceful contemplative atmosphere. The Center offers a Chapel, Library, Meeting Room and Dining Room along with southwestern one-of-a –kind bedrooms. We are surrounded by a lush meadow and stony labyrinth near the winding Ruidoso River.
- History of San Patricio, New Mexico. Originally the town was named Ruidoso for the river, but later changed to San Patricio or St. Patrick’s (named by an Irish Priest upon seeing the Hondo valley, said it reminded him of his homeland in Ireland). The earliest chapel in San Patricio is on the property of the San Patricio Retreat Center built in the 1850’s and named, “La Inglesia de San Patricio”, or St. Patrick’s Church (the foundation of the old chapel is visible on the property today).
- The story is that Bishop Lamy offered to buy the chapel from the rancher, owning the property. The rancher refused, the Blessed Sacrament was removed, and a new chapel was built, the San Patricio Chapel, completed in 1885. Today, the old San Patricio Chapel is alive and well, every year celebrating their Patron, St. Patrick, with a pilgrimage to the Chapel.
- Small chapels were built in the valley in each community.
- 9 chapels in Lincoln County as follows:
- Hondo Valley Chapels & Missions: 1. San Patricio Chapel, 1885 2. San Ysidro in Glencoe, 1906 3. Our Lady of Guadalupe in Hondo, newest, 1940 ? 4. San Jose in Picacho , 1891 5. San Miguel in Arabela 6. Sacred Heart, Fort Stanton 7. San Juan Bautisto, Lincoln 8. Sacred Heart Mission, Capitan 9. St. Therese of the Little Flower in Corona.
- These Chapels (though not all in operation today) stand as monuments of faith to the ancestors and people who live here today. Each chapel tells a story, the history of people who settled in this valley, prayed and were sustained in this valley overcoming; harsh winters, Indian attacks, the Lincoln County Wars, disease and hardships. As time passed in the Hondo Valley, the original 15 families had grown to over 200 families in just 3 generations. It was very difficult with few Priests on horseback to meet the growing needs of the people (travel to each of these chapels occurred once a month if they were able). The little chapels were replaced under a “unified Hondo Valley” to create a central place of worship.
- The centralized mission parish, St. Jude Thaddeus, was underway in 1964. Land that was deeded to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1935 by Ignacio Olguin was the land where St. Jude Thaddeus Mission Parish stands today. The first Mass was celebrated in 1967.
- The famous Southwestern painter, Peter Hurd, lived directly behind the parish and donated a painting entitled “The Legend of San Ysidro”. This beautiful painting still hangs today in the Church. Both Peter Hurd and his wife, Henriette Wyeth Hurd, owned and operated the “Hurd-La Rinconada Gallery”, which operates to this day, next door to the San Patricio Retreat Center. The Gallery is owned and operated by their youngest son, Michael Hurd. This gallery is historic, displaying the work of 5 generations of Wyeth-Hurd American art.
- San Patricio Retreat Center, San Patricio, New Mexico is a small rural community in Lincoln County, New Mexico. It is located on the Ruidoso River, East of the Lincoln National Forest. Located in the high desert of the Hondo valley at an elevation of 5, 436. San Patricio is 20 miles East of Ruidoso Downs and 50 miles West of Roswell on Hwy. 70. Comprising 11.5 acres of land in the beautiful Hondo Valley, the retreat center borders the Ruidoso River.
- The Sentinel Mountains bordering the property once served as a lookout for attacking Indians. San Patricio Retreat Center, originally called, “Ft. Meigs” was the home, gallery and studio of artist, John Meigs, a longtime friend and collaborator of artist, Peter Hurd. John Meig’s dream was to create a place of beauty that would be a gathering place for the arts and local community to enjoy.
- Before Meig’s death in 2003, he bequeathed the property to the Pecos Benedictine Abbey. The monks, oblates and people of the Diocese of Las Cruces began a major overhaul of the property to be used as a retreat center. Major improvements were made in the plumbing and electrical system and rooms once used as art gallery space were now re-fitted with bedrooms and bathrooms. Mr. Meig’s home was made into the kitchen, dining room and meeting room for the retreat. After 10 years in 2008 it became clear that the Benedictine community was not prepared to complete needed updates or staffing of the retreat center.
- The San Patricio Retreat Center was purchased from the Pecos Benedictine Order by the Diocese of Las Cruces and dedicated by Bishop Ramirez on November 28, 2009.