Mother Mary’s Garden — a tranquil place off the beaten path


Photos by Diane Drekmann Mother Mary’s Garden is five miles south of San Luis. Mother Mary’s Garden outside of San Luis features a carving of Mother Mary at its center. An adobe sanctuary at Mother Mary’s Garden is a space for people to mediate and reflect.

SAN LUIS — Five miles south of San Luis is a special place called Mother Mary's Garden.

The vision of Milt and Susan Sanderford, they dreamed of a garden and space where people could meditate, find peace and healing.

They created a non-profit called Casa de Santa Maria in 2005 to create a retreat center. A few years later, the Sanderfords moved to San Luis and found a piece of property to build their dream.

They wanted to make a meditation garden that would be available to everyone for free. Through the non-profit and donations, the Sanderfords commissioned Master Totem Carver, Lee Wallace, from Alaska, to carve a statue of Mother Mary for the centerpiece of the garden.

Carved out of red cedar, the statue of Mother Mary stands atop a star surrounded by meditation circles.

Susan Sanderford says, “Mother Mary's Garden is a place for honoring the Divine Mother and introduce her love to all people of faith or no faith."

One walks along a short path and is greeted by a circle built of concentric rings of stone. Another has large boulders staring upward like a mini Stonehenge, one circle has different colors of sand.

Tucked in the corner of the garden is a small adobe sanctuary where people have paintings, benches, honoring loved ones — a place for meditation and reflection.

Mother Mary's Garden exudes peace and tranquility. It is quiet, with no traffic. One is surrounded by the Sangre de Christo Mountains, breathing mountain air, with the smell of lavender and other various flowers.

Mother Mary's Garden is wheelchair accessible, and open 365 days a year, free. National Geographic has recommended Mother Mary's Garden as a place not to miss.

Mother Mary's Garden continues to grow and evolve. The Sanderfords hope to have a retreat center some day. To help, visit