Report on the Mission of Our Lady of Sorrows of Sandia, 1820*

Translation by Rick Hendricks

I, the minister who serves it, fray Ambrosio Guerra,  provide information about this mission, Our Lady of Sorrows of the pueblo of Sandia; it has  been two years since holy obedience placed me in it. It was built in the month of October 1787.


1st the church and convento of said mission were much deteriorated; nevertheless, in these two years, it was repaired.

2nd this church is built of adobes with the personal labor of the Indians of this pueblo and the few citizens there are; the convento was built at the request of the father minister, requesting protection for it from the vice royal patronage, with said father giving one hundred pesos in local products for its construction, and in addition, thirty pesos for cost of a bell, which was purchased .

3rd Our sovereign (may God keep him) aids the ministers from his royal coffers; in this mission they support themselves solely from the product of perquisites according to the list of fees; these, depending on the year, in some will produce, based on silver, about 80 pesos  and in others more, such that one cannot give a fixed rule; they are always paid in local goods equal to one silver real at the most and depending on the time, the value or loss of value of these goods. In the same way, the First Fruits that are gathered depend on what is harvested at the time.

4th The teaching of Christian doctrine and the school would advance much more as would instruction of the parishioners if for this the father minister had the authority to intervene with the citizens. He can do nothing more than place it on the alter, not being allowed any other choice, which is why one always finds so much ignorance, and there is no other remedy than silence.

5th This mission has no fund whatsoever, no sodality no brotherhood no building fund. Because of their poverty, the poor citizens are only obligated to maintain the whole church.

6th The principal activities of these poor citizens are for each to plant what little they can to support themselves for the year, and they are so poor that they face scarcity, relying on their personal labor, which is weaving, carding, and serving, because they have no other way of making a living, for were it not thus, their families would suffer more greatly.

7th There is a very adequate cemetery, with enough room for everything. It is something over 30 varas long. Finally, most excellent sir, this is the sketch that I can and do provide of this mission, pardoning the defects that there may be. So that it may be of record, I sign it in this mission of Our Lady of Sorrows of Sandia, 13 July 1820

Fray Ambrosio Guerra [rúbrica]



Baptisms; Marriages; Burials from the pueblo were

the following = baptisms 9 = marriages 6 = burials 10 adults

and children of Spaniards baptisms 3 = marriages 2 = burials 5

This mission is 8 leagues from San Felipe, Santo Domingo, Santa Ana, Jemez  to the north = To the south, 7 to the villa of San Felipe de Alburqueque = To the West, the mission of San José de la Laguna = about 16. Valid [rúbrica]

*Fray Ambrosio Guerra, Sandía, Informe de la misión de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Sandía, 13 de julio de 1820, Archivos Históricos del Arzobispado de Durango, r. 243, f. 59-60.