Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mother Cabrini Shrine

Mother Cabrini Shrine Sunday afternoon found us driving along the hogbacks that separate our majestic Rocky Mountains from the Colorado High Plains. We'd been at the Colorado Railroad Museum, as one of Justin's previous clients had given him a free family pass. Then we needed to stop by my parents home 30 minutes south. From Golden to Littleton. Tour de Jeffco, you might call it.

As we neared I-70, Justin asked if I'd mind a quick detour to the foothill known as Lookout Mountain so we could show the kids where we'd gone to canoodle a time or two when we were dating in high school all the gorgeous views of Denver from that spot, perched above Golden. You can see DIA, the Denver Tech Center, downtown, and Kansas from Makeout Lookout Mountain.

When we turned off I-70 and took the Lookout Mountain/Buffalo Bill's grave exit, I also remembered that it was the same exit for the Mother Cabrini Shrine, an official pilgrimage site.

Mother Cabrini Shrine "Have you ever visited Mother Cabrini Shrine?" I asked Justin. He hadn't. "Well, we should stop there and show the kids."

He didn't really want to, but I put on my doe eyes and so my sweet Sander headed that way--but not before a quick tour of Lookout Mountain, of course.

{Of course, story of my life, I end up at some interesting site without my good camera and so we all have to suffer through cell phone photos. I'm sorry.}

I had been to Mother Cabrini Shrine once before when the children's chorale I was in during my preteen years had performed at a wedding in the chapel. We sang some Beatles love song that not many people would know, but I can't remember which one it was. What I remembered most was exploring the Cabrini Shrine after we sang our song and were free to leave, I remembered there was a pilgrimage in itself up the long stairway to the shrine at the top.

Somehow I convinced Sander to park the Volvo and hike up a 373 step stairway in the July heat with three kids in tow, one of whom had to be carried. He was not necessarily amused at first. He later admitted that it was worth it, just for the views at the top. To the west you could see the Rocky Mountains, to the east you could see the rest of Colorado.
Mother Cabrini ShrineMother Cabrini Shrine
We did not pack ourselves a very big picnic for the train museum earlier, and so by the time we got up and then back down, my legs were shaking from low blood sugar and everyone was exhausted. 373 steps is harder than you might think, especially in our sparse high altitude air.
Mother Cabrini Shrine
There is no need to rush, however, and plenty of spots to take a rest on the way up.
Mother Cabrini Shrine
Along the way up to the top, there is a variety of art depicting the Stations of the Cross. It is a decidedly Catholic site, obviously, so there's some stuff that idolizes Mary too. Though I feel you don't have to be Catholic to appreciate the things to be seen at Mother Cabrini Shrine.
Mother Cabrini ShrineMother Cabrini ShrineMother Cabrini Shrine
There were a lot of Catholics there. One man we saw, on the way up as well as the way down, was stopping to kneel on every single step to pray. His knees must have been hurting by the time he made it up to the top. And it made me thankful that Lutherans believe in sweet and simple prayer! "The fewer the words, the better the prayer." - Martin Luther
Mother Cabrini Shrine
At the very top is a 22 foot statue of Jesus. I think it's kind of neat that this Jesus statue overlooks the entire city, a reminder that He is always with us.
Mother Cabrini ShrineMother Cabrini Shrine
There is also a "Heart of Stone" under glass, those stones were arranged there by Mother Cabrini and a few of the orphans during one of their pilgrimages to the top. They have since preserved the Heart of Stone under glass. People now throw coins on it. The stairway, built in the 1950s, was apparently the same path Mother Cabrini used to get to the top.
Mother Cabrini Shrine
Down the path, a ways from the Shrine, sits the Stone House. It was first used as a summer camp for Denver orphans, then as a convent, but now it's a place you can rent for retreats. The convent is now located in another building on the property. There is a chapel, a gift shop, a meditation walk, the shrine itself, the grotto, and the spring.
Mother Cabrini Shrine Mother Cabrini ShrineMother Cabrini Shrine Mother Cabrini Shrine was founded by St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, an Italian nun. Story is Mother Cabrini purchased the land and used it to start a convent as well as a summer camp for young lady orphans from Denver. After some years on the land, Mother Cabrini discovered a natural spring--they had previously thought there was no water on the property. Today, you can visit the spring, located just under the Grotto, and drink natural spring water. They have cone cups for you to use for FREE water. {It tasted like good mountain water. You can't get giardia from a spring, right?}
Mother Cabrini ShrineMother Cabrini Shrine
Before we noticed the free spring water, we saw a vending machine for bottled water just as we finished our descent from the pilgrimage to the top of the shrine. Very smart of them, putting this vending machine at the bottom of the stairway.
Mother Cabrini Shrine
"Two dollars just for bottled water?" Justin said, irritated as I fished out eight quarters from my purse.

"Well, they can't charge for sins anymore, so how else are they going to make their money?" I quipped.

Okay...so that was poorly done of me. But the Lutherans that we are thought it was a little funny.

Near the spring, the girls saw this miniature statue of Jesus and insisted on a picture "with God". Violet was especially smitten with the statue and cooed at it, "Aww, Jesus. You're so sweet." Someday we'll meet Him face to face...
Mother Cabrini Shrine 
I know I've made my Colorado pride well known already; I know, I know...I'm sorry. I just feel so blessed to be able to raise our family in this place of western wonder. I spent a good portion of my own childhood on adventures in the mountains, now I get to see it all through my kids eyes. The Rockies are our backyard. There is an endless supply of things to see and do here in Colorado, and Mother Cabrini Shrine is just one of them, we crossed it off the list this past Sunday. {Along with the Colorado Railroad Museum.}
Mother Cabrini ShrineWhere shall we go next?

1 comment:

  1. There was a Stations of the Cross shrine in Litchfield, CT that we use to visit occasionally on vicarage. It was so peaceful and lovely - just like the one you visited! We will have to visit there - I love little Colorado day trips! I would say your next stop for a daytrip has to be Bishop Castle outside of Pueblo. It's amazing, but it's dangerous, so I would maybe leave the little ones behind.

    ReplyDelete

What do you have to say for yourself?

Blogging tips