Back to Previous Page
San Francisco de Assisi Mission
60 St Francis Plaza Ranchos de Taos, NM 87557
North Central

Celebrating 300 years, the historic “Ranchos Church” was built in the mid to late 1700’s, and is the only original church which remains intact in the Taos area. San Francisco de Asis Church continues to be an integral part of the spiritual community. It has been artistically recorded by 20th Century artists, Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, and others who were fascinated by its adobe contours and sculptural buttresses. Their artful depictions of the rustic architecture of San Francisco de Asis have made the church nationally famous. Every June, parishioners and the community volunteers gather to re-plaster the church in adobe. This annual project is called “The Enjarre,” or “the mudding” of the church. Since the church is the heart of the community many people are moved to help preserve the church’s historicity. By mixing clay, sand, straw, and water into thick mud it is applied to the surface, layer upon layer, until the entire adobe structure, from top to bottom which becomes resilient to the elements. Inside the Parish Hall resides 18th Century oil painting “The Shadow of the Cross by Henri Ault,” aka “The Mystery Painting.” It used to hang inside the church, and when the lights went dark the painting would mysteriously glow. To preserve its physical integrity The Mystery Painting is housed in a controlled environment. However, it can be personally experienced (in the dark) for a fee of $3.00 per person. All proceeds go to maintain the historic church.