The chapel of Santo Nino de Atocha was built in 1856 by the Medina family after Severiano Medina made a pilgrimage to Fresnillo, Mexico in fulfillment of a promise that he made to God. Santo Nino de Atocha, the manifestation of Jesus as a child, is the patron of travelers, miners, the imprisoned and "los desamparados" (the abandoned). Santo Nino is said to wander the night on foot looking for people most in need of his help.
It was to Santo Nino that the men of northern New Mexico, stationed in the Phillipines at the outbreak of WWII, prayed to during the Siege of Corregidor and the subsequent Bataan Death March. In the late 1940's the survivors of the Death March and their families began the first Holy Week pilgrimage to Chimayo and the shrine of Santo Nino (which was housed, at that time, at el Santuario de Chimayo). This has now become a major pilgrimage of as many as 40,000 people annually.
Santo Nino de Atocha Chapel was acquired by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1992 and has been recently renovated as a modern Children's Chapel. Inside a small room adjoining the main chapel is a large bulto of Santo Nino made by the well-known santero, Felix Lopez. Filling the shelves are hundreds of pairs of children's shoes and other offerings left for Santo Nino, who is in constant need of new shoes because of his long journeys on foot.