Monday, March 17, 2008

Shrine of Our Lady of the Sierras

Leaving Discovery Ranch Sunday, we followed Sue Thatcher south nearly to the Mexican border, to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Sierras.

Our Lady of the Sierras sits high on a hill (5300 feet elevation) in the Huachuca Mountains.

The primary feature of the shrine is the Celtic Cross, standing 75 feet above its base. When the shrine was proposed, neighboring landowners filed a lawsuit ("You're going to build what, where?"), causing a four year delay in the project. Before the suit was settled, a cross was cast and completed, but with the uncertainty about the situation, it was donated to the Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David, AZ. On this cross, the letters V-I-T-A spell "Vita," translated to mean "Life."

Next to the Cross is a 31-foot tall statue of the Madonna, the Mother of Jesus, beckoning with her right hand to the Cross.

Central to the shrine is a quaint stone chapel built of river rock mined from nearby Ash Canyon. The chapel is said to be one of the largest stone structures in the area. The shrine offers a grand view of the valley spread before it.

The interior of the chapel has an original painted representation of the risen Christ. Below that is an antique Spanish Cross dating back to early Mexico. Because our visit was during Lent, the cross and statues inside the chapel were covered in purple fabric. The covers will be removed for Easter.

At the door to the chapel stands a statue of "The Angel of Consolation," and nearby is "The Angel of Revelation."

As we drove back to The Caverns RV Park, we reflected on our discovery weekend, first at Discovery Ranch, then at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Sierras ... all part of ... Our Life on Wheels.

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