Santa Fe, New Mexico native

Jaima Chevalier

"La Conquistadora/Unveiling the History of Santa Fe's Six Hundred Year Old Religious Icon"

Author Type: Biography, Historical Fiction, Non-fiction

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Contact: Jaima Chevalier at (505) 988-4418


Jaima Chevalier is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, with

deep ties to her home state. After the extraordinary circumstance of

spending the first years of her life in the basement of New Mexico's

Laboratory of Anthropolgy, where her writer-father worked as a

janitor, her family moved to the ranch outside of Santa Fe where she

now raises her two children.


Chevalier's new work is "La Conquistadora/Unveiling the

History of Santa Fe's Six Hundred Year Old Religious Icon" fuses

recent scientific discoveries with the stories and legends that

comprise La Conquistadora's incredible mythology, creating a lyrical

meditation that resonates with history throughout the centuries and

across two continents and embracing Santa Fe as a crossroads of

different cultures.


Few religious icons dominate and inspire their subjects as powerfully

as La Conquistadora, America's oldest Madonna, has over the centuries.

Don Diego de Vargas carried her image as a message of piece and

reconciliation when the Spanish returned to Santa Fe after the Pueblo

Revolt of 1680. In frontier times, a well-known local madam was

especially devoted to La Conquistadora. In modern times, her fame has

reached throughout the world, while her local devotional society has

provided a link between the very rich and the very poor in Santa Fe,

even as it served as a power base for city and state politics. While

maintaining her place in the hearts of Santa Feans, La Conquistadora

has also taken the throne at the heart of the ancient city's history,

and she has the scars to prove it.


With features sometimes called "Palestinian" and startling blue eyes,

La Conquistadora's origins are shrouded in mystery, but Chevalier

unveils surprising new information about this icon's amazing

provenance and past. A never-before-seen x-ray suggest the

transformations La Conquistadora has undergone, while material from

the journals of one of her most loyal devotees recalls the tense weeks

of her 1973 kidnapping. Finally, Chevalier discovers the key to the

long-standing mystery surrounding the wood used to craft the statue.