The Kneeling Nun

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The Kneeling Nun is a large columnar rock monolith that resembles a praying nun.  Located just off Highway 152 east of Silver City the Kneeling Nun overlooks the Santa Rita open-pit copper mine.  Although this prominent area landmark is about 20 miles from Silver City it is visible from town.  The first written account of the Kneeling Nun was in 1853 and it appears for the first time on published maps of the region in 1883.

A source of local legend, one of the the stories surrounding the Kneeling Nun rock monolith is that "a nun, in one of the numerous Jesuitical convents, committed an offense for which she was condemned to death, and her soul banished to this rock, to remain until the action of the elements released it to join the blessed throng of the redeemed. -Editor, Mining Life" September 1873."  Another is a Spanish legend of the fair nun, Teresa of the Mission of the Knights of the Holy Grail, who shared a forbidden love with a handsome soldier and was turned to stone for abandoning her vows.

Whatever the folklore of the Kneeling Nun she has come to be a significant landmark in Southwestern New Mexico seeped in both culture and tradition.


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