In need of a miracle but can’t get to Lourdes, France?

The Grotto at Our Lady of Lourdes National Shrine in Euclid, Ohio

Recently, my mom was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with a chronic condition. I have been having my own health challenges. And, my blue-collar dad who worked with machinery and equipment his entire life, a self-professed tinkerer, passed away last year. So, I was looking for a little healing and heard from a colleague at another Euclid business about a shrine in Euclid. I decided to go on my own pilgrimage around the corner from HGR’s office to 21281 Chardon Road, Euclid, Ohio.

When I showed up, people were arriving for a mass in the chapel to commemorate St. Anne’s Day, which happens to be my grandmother’s name, my mother’s middle name and my confirmation name!

The Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity run the shrine as a getaway from the “machinery” of everyday life for those looking for a spiritual retreat. The shrine is a replica of the Grotto in Lourdes, France, and has two stone chips taken from the stone on which Our Lady is said to have appeared in Lourdes with water from the Grotto flowing over the relics. You can drink from the fountain or take water with you. I bought a beautiful, inexpensive glass bottle in the gift shop to fill for my mother, and I drank from the fountain.

My trip was so interesting. I learned a lot, historically. And, you don’t have to be Catholic. There was a woman meditating with tuning forks on a bench as I walked through. Yes, you can light candles, walk the rosary hill or the Stations of the Cross in a wooded area just like in Lourdes, or go to mass, but it’s really about simplicity and getting a breath of fresh air and serenity, which almost everyone needs.

tomb at Our Lady of Lourdes National Shrine

The dateline for history buffs:

  • In 1198, John of Martha formed a community dedicated to The Trinity.
  • In 1762, Teresa Cucchiari founded the female branch of the Trinitarian tradition.
  • In 1858, the Virgin Mary is reported to have appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette 18 times in Lourdes, France, to ask her to pray for sinners.
  • In 1920, Mother Teresa Franza brought the order to the U.S.
  • In 1926, the shrine in Euclid was opened by the Good Shepherd Sisters.
  • In 1952, the Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity took over the shrine’s operation.
  • In 1956, the chapel was built with stained glass windows that tell the story of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The sisters say, “The shrine is an oasis of peace from the world.” As I walked the grounds, thrilled to see an entire area of milkweed planted for Monarch butterflies, I was reminded of my own office and how many people come to HGR daily to meditatively walk the rows of machinery and equipment looking for inspiration, laugh and chat with like-minded folks and grab a bite to eat at Wednesday’s free lunch in the customer lounge. We find an oasis where and when we can. And, sometimes, it’s the small daily blessings, including our livelihoods, the kindness of strangers or a finding a favorite place, for which we can be grateful.

milkweed

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