St. John the Baptist
San Juan Bautista
St. John Paul II
Walk the same path where courageous Hispano settlers journeyed into Southern Colorado
from New Mexico to live their Catholic faith at the foot of the La Garita Mountains.
The SAN JUAN CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL CENTER is a unique 10-acre site, owned by the Diocese of Pueblo, offers a historical view of cultural traditions and a Catholic way of life brought from old Spain by the first Hispano settlers who traveled to the Spanish northern frontier from New Mexico.
As a place of panoramic beauty, it is located in the northern portion of the San Luis Valley, The SAN JUAN CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL CENTER is protected by the rugged San Juan Mountain Range to the west and looks across the vast valley floor towards the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east.
As a visitor, you can trace the path of the Hispano settlers when you see St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (Iglesia de San Juan Bautista); as you pause at the site of the ruins of the old convento, now a monument dedicated to San Juan Bautista (Casa de Cura/Convento); as you wander through the rows of graves in the Carnero Creek Cemetery (Cemetario del Carnero) you can see family inscriptions and old gravesite markers; and finally, as you look upon a recent addition to the SAN JUAN CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL CENTER, a Rosary Walk dedicated to Saint John Paul II.
In 2007, a revitalization of the church and the surrounding property was inspired and guided by Father Joseph Vigil of the San Juan Catholic Community. Through his efforts, a renewed pride emerged for the treasure and beauty of the tradition and history of the church. As a result, the interior of the church has been restored, and the grounds now include walkways, a monument dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and a rosary walk dedicated to St. John Paul II. Collectively these comprise the San Juan Catholic Spiritual Center, dedicated to the courageous Hispano people who settled in La Garita and to the Priests and Sisters that supported them in their Catholic faith. It is also dedicated to the Penitentes who helped keep the Catholic faith alive in the absence of priests during the early settlement.
We invite you to visit this special place to take a glimpse of the strength and absolute faith in God, and each other, that these first Catholic Hispano settlers possessed in order to leave their homes in New Mexico, to build a new community and to start a new parish in this isolated and rugged high mountain valley.
Welcome to the SAN JUAN CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL CENTER
2020 Summer Season
Due to COVID-19, we are not currently scheduling events for this summer.
Please check our website for any updates.
The Spiritual Center remains open to all visitors, however, we ask that when visiting, you respect those around you with appropriate methods of social distancing.