It all began with the inspired idea of a few parishioners from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish who had made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje and were deeply moved by this experience. The name Medjugorje literally means "between mountains," just as the tiny community of Conejos lies between the San Juan and the Sangre de Cristo ranges of the Rocky Mountains.
Far from home, in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia and Herzegovina near the border of Croatia, the fellow parishioners felt a special connection. They felt the need to create a shrine, a special place of meditation and prayer, a sanctuary which would welcome and restore all spiritual seekers and especially those of the Catholic faith. The group of parishioners, calling themselves simply the committee, held the dream and the vision, waiting for the right time to come, for the way ahead to be made clear .
A bequest to establish a shrine: The estate of Josephine Salazar, directed that the amount of $40,000 be deposited in the local credit union in Antonito for the exclusive purpose of establishing a religious and cultural center to promote the Faith and to educate people about the culture of our ancestors, the Spanish settlers or pobladores of southern Colorado.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish: The Committee, accompanied by Father Sergio Robles C.R., were received by His Excellency Bishop Arthur Tafoya on February 19, 2009. They confirmed their faith and their solidarity with Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, sharing in the goal of establishing El Santuario de los Pobladores.
A Nonprofit Organization: After several years of guardianship of the Salazar bequest, The Committee incorporated as a nonprofit organization under the Internal Revenue Service Code section 501(c)(3) as El Santuario de los Pobladores. The Committee and all who support this Mission in the future are to be known as Friends of El Santuario de los Pobladores.