“Silver City's favorite stone monument”
Perhaps no story is so dear to the people of Grant County as the legend of the Kneeling Nun, located near Santa Rita, New Mexico, eighteen miles east of Silver City, in the Santa Rita Mountains. The mountain is nearly perpendicular and towers in the air nearly five hundred feet. Its brow forms quite a plateau in the center of which stands rocks formed like the ruins of a dome. Between these rocks and the northern edge of the plateau stands a monolith. When the mountain is viewed from a distance, it assumes the appearance of a fortress or castle of medieval ages. The rising stone or monolith resembles a human form in a kneeling position. Superstition has clothed the mountain with the following legend: In the early days of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico, a band of men under Coronado came through Santa Rita searching for gold. Shortly after, there came a band of monks and nuns, building a monastery. Times were hard not only to make a living, but there was the constant fear of Indians. Soldiers of the Coronado army were brought to the monastery wounded and dying. One of these soldiers, wounded and brought to the monastery, was tenderly cared for by a young nun, Sister Rita. Love came to these two although she fought and prayed against it. But, alas, they were reported by a jealous man, and Sister Rita was condemned to die.
She prayed to be turned to stone and her wish was granted. A terrible earthquake shook the walls of the monastery and only the Kneeling Nun or form of Sister Rita was left alone through countless ages of time. Santa Rita is supposed to have been named from this legend.
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The Kneeling Nun
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