Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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hernandez connieConsuelo (Connie) Hernandez

Honored June, 2013

Consuelo (Connie) Hernandez 

  Consuelo (Connie) Hernandez, a native Santa Fean, lives her life in service to others and in devotion to her faith.  She is well known for many roles: sacristana, or caregiver, for La Conquistadora, the oldest statue of the Madonna Mary in North America; proprietor of the Old Santa Fe Trail Gift Shop filled with her inspiring collection of religious and folk art; caregiver for her family; storyteller of Santa Fe history; counselor to many who enter her shop.  Her name, Consuelo, translates as “comfort”—and that is what many in need describe after a visit with her.

    Connie’s shop is in the front room of the adobe building where she grew up. Her grandfather built the home with his grocery store in front. Connie’s family was known for their kindness to all, and to strangers.  On a pole in front of her grandfather’s store a small cross appeared with a heart shape around it, indicating that the family would give food to those in need. 

     Connie described a happy childhood filled with memories of her seven siblings with friends in their backyard playhouse. Central to their home was a room with a nicho painted for the sacred heart, the surrounding cherubs representing the Hernandez children. Connie attended Loretto School and received instruction from the nuns.  She described herself as timid but active, curious to learn many different skills.  

     When Connie’s mother became sacristana for La Conquistadora, Connie learned about the sewing of garments for the statue and about the changing of garments for different religious events. When Connie became sacristana, she served to guide and care for the women desiring to make or donate garments in thanksgiving or grief, ministering to those in time of need. 

     Connie also worked as teacher’s aide at the New Mexico School for the Deaf.  She was caregiver for her mother and later her ailing brother.  She has tended her Santa Fe gift shop for forty-eight years, helping customers select just the right religious icons and giving thousands of relics for her favorite saint, Padre Pio, whom she credits for healing her pelvis injury.


      Friends have said, “It is from within that Consuelo glows, with the beauty of interior life.” “Connie has spent her life supporting people in our community.  She adds vitality to the multi-cultural fabric of Santa Fe.  The bus driver and the city councilman equally know her, but so does the bishop, the theologian, the scholar and the pilgrim.  She is the living embodiment of Santa Fe, and a loving keeper of memories.”



Story by Margaret Wood

Photo © 2013 by Genevieve Russell