Geotourism Mapguide: A travel guide to the places most respected and recommended by locals.
  Statue or Public Art Display

Mother Mary's Garden

Totem carving of Mother Mary centered in the garden.
September 18, 2008 installation of the Mother Mary Statue.
Visitors enjoying the peacefulness of Mother Mary's Garden.

Mother Mary's Garden is a 300 foot diameter non-denominational prayer, meditation and healing garden created for those wishing to connect with the love of the Divine. Editor, Maria Martinez of La Sierra News - (The Voice of Costilla County) writes; "If you are looking for a place to contemplate, renew your spirit, worship under the beautiful blue sky, or just unwind from the stresses of the day with nothing between you and a Higher Power, you will want to stop and visit Mother Mary's Garden, a non-profit sacred site just off Highway 159 South." "Surrounded by the mesa to the east and the wide expanse of chamiso covered prairie to the north, south and west, this beautiful spot on the planet is definitely a labor of love. The wood statue of Mother Mary is incredible, as is the landscaping - and more than anything, the trust in placing these beautiful objects out in the open for everyone to enjoy. The signs invite the passerby to visit, and explain that the garden is a non-denominational, non-profit sacred site." As the editor of La Sierra mentioned, centerpiece of the garden is an incredible 10'5" hand-carved totem statue of Mother Mary. This beautiful Western Cedar statue was carved by master totem carver Lee Wallace of the Haida Tribe of Ketchikan, Alaska. Along with six Lyman Whitaker Wind Sculptures, trees, bushes and flowering plants native to the area are professionally landscaped throughout. As to more specific directions, leaving the town limits of San Luis traveling south on Highway 159, go 5 miles to the junction of Manasa Road. Turn right and travel one mile to the Sanchez Canal bridge. Crossing the bridge, Mother Mary's Garden is immediately on the left. The garden is free to all.

Seasons Open: Year Round

 ADA Accessibility Notes

Those confined to wheelchairs, or having trouble walking distances, can call 719-672-3130 in advance of their visit and speak with Susan or Milt Sanderford. Arrangements will be made to give them handicapped access parking.

 Pet Friendly Notes

Helper-animals welcome. Dogs on a leash are welcome as well. (B.Y.O.B. -- Bring your own baggies.)

For More Information, Contact:

Susan Sanderford
P.O. Box 64,
719-672-3130 · fax 719-672-3130

Susan Sanderford
P.O. Box 64, San Luis, CO 81152
719-672-3130 · toll-free 719-672-3130 · fax 719-672-3130

Lyn Pedano wrote on July 23, 2014: I have been to Mother Mary's Garden several times. Two years ago I made the trip from Atlanta, GA. A very deep and personal question was holding me back until my visit. I returned to Atlanta and one month later moved to Colorado Springs. My life has never been better! There is an indescribable peace, tranquility, and healing in this beautiful garden. You will not leave unchanged no matter how great or small

Flo Guido wrote on January 25, 2013: On September 1, 2011 I lost my companion of 11 1/2 years, Sophia, a bright, loving yellow lab to cancer. Interestingly, several weeks before she left us, a friend and I found Mother Mary's Garden and took about once a week from Taos. She loved swimming in the nearby lake on the highway too so it was a fun trip for us. Usually, my friend Jack accompanied us and it was always a site to behold watching Sophia feel so comfortable sitting on the grass near the statue of Mary. She loved to roll on the grass and even dug a not-so deep hole under the swing to sit in the shade on a hot windy summer day. Several weeks after her death, Jack and I stopped at the garden on our way to Colorado. I cry when I think about it but Susan said she had seen Sophia romping around the statue of Mary. I miss her so much but glad to spend so much time at the garden before she left. She was a lovely sweet soul and I still miss her terribly. Thanks Susan for letting me know she made it to the other side OK. It means much to me.

VVB wrote on July 19, 2012: Mother Mary’s Garden is a beautiful & sacred spot that truly heals the body, mind & soul. The feeling of inner peace one receives as you sit in the garden is magical & heart warming. The landscaping of the garden itself, the labyrinths & rock gardens to sit and contemplate in while being surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the warmth of the sun makes you thankful for being able to experience such a special place with such wonderful healing energy. I had wanted to visit this garden for a year before I could make the trek across the country; something about it “drew me in” to this spot just so I could experience it and find clarity & newfound guidance in my life. I will never forget my want to see this garden in person; and the fulfilling feeling of being welcomed in my heart once I arrived. It’s a place I go back to “in my mind” daily when I need a moment to tune out the rest of the world, have a moment of quiet meditation or a “safe place” to escape to - and be at peace once again.

Karen N - Absarokee Montana wrote on July 18, 2012: Being in Mother Mary's Garden changed me the instant I walked in. I have been blessed. I left the San Luis Valley vastly different from when I arrived. Miracles begin to happen when Mother Mary enters your life and your heart. Susan and Milt are Earth Angels who answered Mary's call. The retreats they host can not fully be described. I have done healing work for many years. In the one week I was at a retreat they hosted I finally found self love inside of me and not just a concept I hoped to embody. Mother Mary showed me my true power is in self love. For in loving myself I live with Divine Love as an integral part of who I am. Thank You Mother Mary, Milt and Susan for the Garden and so much more...

A.E. Resident of San Luis, Colorado wrote on February 27, 2011: A Spiritual Sanctuary One day not too long ago, I discovered a beautiful site in the most unlikely place, about two miles west of out own town of San Luis. I’ve since visited it many times. I go there because it offers me healing, peace and serenity in a breathtaking setting which is sacred in itself. I do prayer walks, swing on the giant swing and reflect, or just sit in silence and meditate. I’ve even taken my grand children there, to Mother Mary’s Garden, as it is called—La Casa de Santa Maria. One day, I ran into the creators, Milt and Susan Sanderford, as they go there often and continue to work on its completion. These folks are two of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met, who answered the call to build the garden. How fortunate I feel to personally know the two beautiful people who have given up so much and worked so hard to create this magical place of prayer and meditation—all without fanfare or desire for credit or fame. Not blessed with an abundance of money, the Sanderfords had no idea how they would accomplish the task of building the garden, but they trusted it would happen. Over the past sixteen years, they have established a following of clients from around the world through their gifts of spiritual grief counseling by way of telephone and the internet. Many of these clients are referred to them by members of the established medical profession. It was those clients they turned to, and those same clients who have been led to contribute the money. Not a penny of government funds are involved, nor have Susan and Milt asked for any contributions from local residents or organizations. Last spring, I was diagnosed with a congenital, life-threatening chronic condition that would become worse in time. Milt and Susan Sanderford had explained to me that the garden is a place where Mother Mary’s healing presence will reside, along with her holy helpers. Not a church, but a place to connect with the divine. Shortly after the diagnosis, my husband and I were sitting on a bench in front of the carving of Mother Mary, and both saw glittering sparkles around the statue’s head. I personally felt a physical energy reaching out to me. What you see and experience in Mother Mary’s Garden is indeed a labor of love, a gift to all of us. Mother Mary's Garden has been a gift to me in the miraculous healing that has occurred since I started visiting the garden. Even my doctors have been amazed. I believe that the healing power of a sacred site, such as this Garden and Stations of the Cross, combined with the medical technology available, the power of prayer, energy healing and meditation - all of this rooted in belief can heal and restore the body to its normal state, which is perfect health. Mystical spirituality is alive and well in our own San Luis.

Patricia Pickett - Advance, NC wrote on February 22, 2011: I have had the opportunity to visit The Garden with my husband serveral times and the honor for us to care for it in Milt and Susans absence. It is truly a magical place sitting in the Valley of San Luis. The entire area in the valley has such peace that abounds, you feel as if it all radiates from The Garden. My husband and I are from North Carolina with plans to move to San Luis on property we own that sits just across the way from The Garden. I look forward to sitting in my back yard and looking out at the radiance of The Casa de Santa Maria each morning. Thank you Milt and Susan for your strong faith and patience in seeing this project to its completion.

Sophie, Virginia wrote on February 22, 2011: I have had the beautiful experience of visiting Mother Mary's Garden in San Luis. As you sit in this sacred place you feel the wind on your face as if God is whispering to you. Your eyes see the beauty of the area and the peacefullness of the garden is calming. After the death of a son I went there not knowing what to expect, but a healing did take place in my heart from Mother to Mother that I cannot put into words. Yes it is a healing place and would highly recommend it to release some of your grief and find comfort and peace. Your mind, body and soul will thank you for the experience. After coming home I still have kept the healing peace in my heart. Susan and Milt Sanderford have given so much of their love, time and hard work, to be in the company of such beautiful people was an added bonus. A return trip someday for sure.

Ashleigh wrote on February 21, 2011: I have known Milt and Susan for many years and can tell you of their incredible faith and total dedication to the Casa. They moved to San Luis on complete faith and have followed Mother Mary's wishes to develope a sanctuary for poeple of all religions (or no religion) to gather in love. Although I have not had the chance to visit the Casa yet, I know that it is a place of healing and great peace. God Bless them for making this happen with so few resources. What I have seen transpire of the past few years is truly miraculous!

Paula M. Ezop wrote on February 21, 2011: I have not visited Mother Mary's Garden, but I have been there in spirit. Truly, this is a labor of love and devotion. Susan and Milt have created a place of spiritual growth and healing for all to share. I hope that I too will some day be able to visit Mother Mary's Garden, and feel the heavenly love that exists in this sacred place.

Kathleen Harrington, White Lake, MI wrote on February 21, 2011: Mother Mary's Garden is a spiritually magical place. Although I have not been there, yet, I will visit soon to see the tree that will be planted in honor & memory of my oldest son Edward J. Harrington. Thanks to Susan & Milt we all can visit a place that truly is a little heaven on earth. God bless you Susan and Milt!

Lori Meitzen wrote on February 21, 2011: Although I have not had the pleasure of visiting Mother Mary's Garden it is one of my dreams to one day be able to do this as well as to meet Milt and Susan Sanderford face to face. I have had a few readings with Susan to connect to my beloved son and she is remarkable in what she does. I have high respect and admiration for the Sanderford's and my heart is warmed by all they do for the stray animals that they care for. I pray that God blesses Susan and MIlt and continues to assist them in this mission.

Shari Sylvester, Phoenix, AZ wrote on February 09, 2011: My husband and I visited Mother Mary's Garden last September. We travelled from Phoenix looping up through New Mexico, southern Colorado (to the Garden), Four Corners and back through the Navajo Reservation to Phoenix. It was a fabulous trip through the beautiful Southwest. The visit to Mother Mary's Garden was truly a heartfelt experience. There was such a loving, peaceful and healing feeling present. That visit made a beautiful, lasting impression on me. I will definitely go back.

Dan Chapman & Family, Atlantic City, N.J. wrote on January 24, 2011: Beautiful, peaceful, healing. Worth gong out of your way to see

Rafael Ramirez wrote on January 19, 2011: I am fortunate because I live close enough to drive to this wonderful Garden. As you walk in you feel that you are walking into a sacred space that envelops you much like I remember my mother embracing me when I was a child. You can tell that everything was carefully planned if not guided as you take in, not only the garden but the surrounding beauty of the area. This is definitely a place to come to get away and walk away refreshed and renewed.

- +

Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of National Geographic.

Latitude: 37.183980200
Longitude: -105.520634700
Elevation: 7825 FT (2385 M)
 Thumbs Up Place Nearby
(5.3 miles / 8.6 kilometers)
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is a 1,280-foot-long cantilever truss bridge. (Cantilevers are...
Stations of the Cross Shrine
The Stations of the Cross are a series of graphic bronze sculptures meditating on the last hours...
Adobe Milling
Demonstrating a cultural continuum from the ancestral Pueblo people of the Mesa Verde region to...
All Good Things, Gallery & Gift Boutique
All Good Things, Gallery & Gift Boutique features Original Artwork by Local Artists,...
Antique Corral
A unique shop.  15,000 sq ft of cowboy and Indian collectibles.  Like a museum but...