Today is the Catholic feast day of St. Michael the Archangel. St. Michael is the patron of Santa Fe’s private Catholic high school. The San Miguel Mission also bears the name of the archangel. On a global scale St. Michael is the patron of policeman, bankers, grocers, radiologists, paratroopers, and the dying; invoked against peril at sea. St. Michael is also a prominent figure in Judaism and Islam. September 30th is the feast day for the three archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael with the three angels venerated by the church on September 29th.
Oldest Church in the U.S.
The Lasallian Christian Brothers arrived in Santa Fe in 1859 to start the all-boys school that complimented Loretto Academy’s girls school. The San Miguel church became a chapel for the newly arrived Christian Brothers. Over its long history, the church has served as a mission, a barrio church, a military chapel, as well as an oratory for the Christian Brothers. The Barrio de Analco, the Aztec word meaning “the other side.” is the location for San Miguel. It became the primary place of worship in Santa Fe. The Franciscan missionaries, their Indian converts, and the entire Hispanic population worshipped at San Miguel throughout the 17th century.
San Miguel’s Historic Bell
The San Miguel bell traveled from Spain to Mexico with Nicolás Ortiz Niño Ladrón de Guevara, a wealthy Spanish hidalgo. After the 1680 Pueblo Revolt the bell became a part of San Miguel Chapel. In 1872 the bell was damaged by a storm and removed to the interior of the church for protection and preservation. Today, the bell is located at the entrance of the church. Visitors are encouraged to ring the bell with a rubber hammer upon leaving the church. Legend has it that if you ring the bell you’ll return to Santa Fe.