Monday, April 18, 2011

A Chapel on the Side of the Road

We were almost to our next destination outside of Omaha, NE when this building up on a hill overlooking the highway caught my eye.

After we got to the campground and settled in, I went to the office and grabbed some brochures of the area. Luckily, the mystery building was identified - it was called "Holy Family Shrine" and was located only 3 miles away!

We visited the shrine the following morning. It is tucked away down a hilly gravel road. We seem to have a strange attraction to gravel roads!

And then, over the next hill, we spotted the shrine off to the right.

This is the path that leads to the Visitor's Center, which is carved out of the side of a hill "to evoke Christ's tomb".

Once inside the center, you see this large spiral sculpture suspended from an opening from the ceiling. "This sculpture represents the shroud of Christ as it fell to the tomb during the resurrection".

"From the sculpture, water appears." (enlarge above photo to see water drop from sculpture.) "The pool fills with water, and we with the Holy Spirit."

The water runs from the pool and follows through stones to the chapel.

These sculptures graced the hallway.

"Root of Jesse"
"Papal Madonna and Child"

Water leads the visitor directly to the shrine.

To the left of the chapel is a small sitting area with a statue of the Virgin Mary.

"The arching members of the trusses were cut out of 850 single boards and were designed to 'bypass' as they rise from the floor until they are spliced together to complete each arch. The chapel sits on natural quarry limestone blocks."

The trusses on the front of the chapel interlace like waving wheat in a field.

This is the holy water fount. It gives good advice.

Because listen is what you want to do in this beautiful chapel. You can hear the gently running water as it makes its way under the floor to the front of the shrine.

Do you see those rectangles by each pew? It is an opening cut into the stone so you can see the water and small stones.

I sat in the front pew and listened to the running water. It was so peaceful. I could have spent a long time there!

The altar.

It was a beautiful experience, a beautiful chapel. For more information visit

(Note: Descriptions in quotes above was taken directly from the Holy Family Shrine brochure.)


Country Gal said...

Fantastic photos, I have never seen a shrine before. Have a wonderful day !

Unknown said...

How beautiful...and out in the middle of nowhere!

Anonymous said...

OMG that is breathtaking...thank you so much for taking me along....truly, you just never know what you'll find down a gravel roads... ;)

Brian Miller said...

what a neat the art and architecture...glad it caught your eye...

Donna B. said...

I just LOVE traveling with you guys Pat! What an awesome devotion to the does sound peaceful. I would enjoy it too, I know from your beautiful pictures and detailed descriptions...

BTW...did I miss it or have you posted an update on Benny the heart worm dog waiting to be reunited with your sister?

Ruth said...

Oh Pat. That is a mesmerizing and surprising place. Absolutely stunning. I would like to go there and listen. The light, the sounds! So good that you went there.

Valerie said...

I'd love to visit that shrine, Pat, and listen to the calming water. I bet your soul was calm when you came away.

Nancy said...

What a beautiful and serene place to just come across in your travels. I love the water and how it becomes part of the reverence of the place. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Lynda said...

That chapel is beautiful. Thank you for showing the sculptures and the voyage of the water, etc. The architecture is beautiful as is he sentiment of it all, too. It was peaceful just looking at your pictures and reading the descriptions.

SquirrelQueen said...

That is an amazing place, not something one would expect to find in the middle of nowhere.

I know what you mean about the gravel roads, we find a lot of them too.

labbie1 said...

Wow! That is amazing--the architecture and workmanship. Wouldn't that be a wonderful place to get married????