Saturday, February 4, 2017

Visiting the Our Lady of the Sierras Shrine

February 3, 2017

First of two posts:

Our Lady of the Sierras
(Cerro De La Virgin)

This shrine was completed in 1998 and restored in 2012 after the 2011 Monument Fire.

(I checked online and this a brief summary of what I  found out about the 2011 Monument Fire. 
The fire started on June 12 and was contained on June 26th. It burned about 30,500 acres and destroyed or damaged 84 homes and business forcing the evacuation of nearly 12,000 people. Though, from what I read, they were never able to pinpoint who started it they believe it was "human caused" and started near the US/Mexican border. It also burned into Mexico. 
At the shrine what was left standing was the cross, the Madonna, and two angels. The Founders of this shrine, Pat and Gerald Chouinard, also lost their home in the fire.)

Turning onto E Prince Placer Road you can see the shrine in the distance.

Turning onto S Twin Oaks Road.

As we started up the hill we could see the
Stations of the Cross ahead of us.
This is the second  station.

A look back at the steep climb.

Looking out over San Pedro Valley from the path on our way up.

The Cross, Madonna, and Chapel from just below.
The brochure states: She beckons towards the cross with
her right hand indicating the true Christian path to salvation;
The Way of the Cross.

Looking up at the Angel of Revelation.

The Stations of the Cross continue up the hill behind the Angel of Revelation.

Waterfall just behind the cross.

The Chapel is constructed out of the local river rock which was mined out of Ash Canyon.This is one of the largest stone structures in Southeast Arizona. Interestingly it was not in the original plans for the shrine. In 1993 the founders requested a permit for the large cross and Madonna as a result of certain county zoning permit requirements, the Chapel was also required. 
This is a Catholic Chapel and houses in a second original vintage bronze Tabernacle the "Blessed Sacrament".  Masses and religious services are held in the chapel. 
Our Lady of the Sierras invites visiting pilgrims/travelers of all faiths to visit this beautiful place.                                                                                                                                             (from brochure)


Angel of Consolation

Guardian of the Children

Walking into the Chapel the mural of the
Risen Christ, painted by a local artist,
dominates your view.
Under the mural is an antique Spanish
wooden crucifix,

The latillas ceiling is ocotillo stems harvested from Northern Mexico
and complemented by real vigas. (from brochure)

This cabinet contains the original tabernacle,
pyx, and ciborium which melted in the
2011 fire.

Three statues inside chapel.

I loved how you could see the San Pedro Valley behind this manger scene.

Height:  75 feet
Weight:  30 tons
Frame:  Structural Steel
Exterior:  Concrete/Fiberglass
Finish:  Hand Sculpted

Height:  31 feet
Weight:  25 tons
Frame:  Welded Steel
Exterior:  Concrete Composition
Finish:  Hand Sculpted

Our view from outside the Chapel.

The Blessed Mother is behind us and the Chapel is on the right.

One last picture of the Angel of  Revelation
before we start our decent back to the Jeep.

We started the decent and I soon realized, even though I had made it up the hill, going down was going to be hard on my bad knee. So at the road just below the Chapel Tom finished walking down the hill and then drove the Jeep back up to get me. While waiting I realized I wanted one last picture of the Chapel.

"Mary's greatness consists in the fact
that she wants to magnify God,
not herself."
~Pope Benedict XVI

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