Thursday, November 7, 2013

Our Lady of the Snows - Belleville, Illinois

One minute we're in Missouri and the next, a little jaunt across the bridge, we're in Illinois. Seriously, if you visit St. Louis, which I know many do because it is a wonderful city, think about crossing over the bridge and visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Truly a beautiful place, there are many different places of devotion in one large area.
Inside the Church    

Main Shrine Amphitheatre  

Millennium Spire and Candelarium

Mary Chapel
Christ the King Chapel

Rosary Courts

Annunciation Garden/Mother's Prayer Walk

Sacred Heart

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

Our Lady of Guadalupe

There is also a beautiful walk with life-size Stations of the Cross.

What cannot be captured fully with the lens are the many messages and prayers and needs left by pilgrims at the base of the statues or by means of a lighted candle and a hanging rosary or medal. Pilgrims who come to ask for healing for themselves or others. Pilgrims who come searching for comfort. Pilgrims who seek peace. Pilgrims who need rest. We found a place for ourselves in the Chapel beneath the Outdoor Altar and Main Shrine I refer to as the Heart of the Shrine. Christ in the Tabernacle waits for those who come in need and in thanksgiving. He waits for those who have come to visit. There is perfect silence and as we kneel we can feel the strength He has to give, the peace He has to offer, the love and the gift of grace He sends. In this place, this Heart of the Shrine, there is warmth and welcome. 

There are many touching places at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. There are as many places as there are needs and each seems to touch different Pilgrims in different ways. The plaques marked with the family names are a testament to what others have considered special. The visit makes a difference. The stop is noted and the prayers are heard. We are fortunate to have a deep faith with many devotions that touch different people in different ways for each of our needs. We have come and we have been blessed. Again. Straight to the Heart.