to them the safe route to take to avoid any danger. Many times, He would
accompany them on their journey. The descriptions of Him were always the
same: He had a pilgrim’s dress, a hat with a plume and a cape about His
Shoulders. In His left Hand, He held a pilgrim’s staff with a gourd of water
Because of these miraculous events, the child received the Name of the Holy
Infant of Our Lady of Atocha. Miracles abounded through the centuries,
even after Spain was liberated from the Moors in the year 1492. Devotion
to the Child originally focused on receiving aid for travelers or for people in
prison but, after witnessing many miracles for other intentions, the devotion
spread throughout Spain and devotees were turning to Him in all of their
The Spanish explorers and Franciscans evangelized the new world. Many
statues of Jesus and Mary were brought over from Spain; in 1554, statues
of the Santo Niño were brought over from Atocha, Spain to the village of
Fresnillo in Zacatecas, Mexico. Immediately, many villagers claimed seeing
the little pilgrim and reported miracles attributed to the Santo Niño of
Atocha. The statue that came from Spain had the Holy Child sitting on the
lap of His Mother. Once, the statue separated itself from His Mother. No
one knows exactly how or why this happened. The people had a throne built
for the Santo Niño, from where He reigns today. He is also to be found in
His own Chapel in the Santuario de Plateros.
There are mornings when the Sisters that care for the Shrine find the Infant’s
shoes all dusty, from being out all night caring for pilgrims. Many people
who have seen Him during the night confirm that His basket is always full
of food and His gourd is always full of water, yet the statue itself has an
empty basket and gourd. At times, He is referred to as the “Night Walking
Infant of Atocha.” Many miracles are attributed to His Presence and the
Shrine is filled with acknowledgments of these.
Today, El Niño de Atocha is revered as the special patron for those who
are in prison, living under regimes of political torture, those in trouble with
the I.N.S., victims of crimes including rape and abduction, those facing
court cases and those who, by virtue of circumstances, require help from
outside for the opening of their way.
The Shrine dedicated to the Santo Niño de Atocha is run by the Poor
Clares and is located in Mexico at: Monasterio del Santo Niño de Atocha
Plateros, Apartado Postal 125, 99000, Fresnillo, Zac., Mexico CCP655001.
RAYER: O Miraculous Infant of Atocha, so inclined to pity, cast
Thy merciful look upon my troubled heart. Be softened by my
prayer, and grant me these favors which I ardently implore of
Thee. (mention request.) Take from me all affliction and despair,
all trials and misfortunes with which I am laden. For Thy Sacred
Infancy's sake, send me now the consolation and aid, and grace
that I may praise Thee with the Father and Holy Spirit, forever
and ever. Amen.
O Divine Child of Atocha, please hear my prayer
and grant my petition. Amen.