Holy Grounds

Holy Grounds

The goal of every shrine is to bring the faithful closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  You are invited to explore these holy grounds to pray and meditate on the gracious love and goodness of God.

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Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are “disciples” and “missionaries”, but rather that we are always “missionary disciples”. Francis

Shrine Chapel

The National Shrine Chapel, constructed of Shrine-site beach stone, was built in the late 1930’s. Fr. William LeVasseur, a Jesuit priest from New Brunswick, Canada had the idea and vision to create a retreat center in Alaska. Bishop Joseph Raphael Crimont, S.J., the first bishop of Alaska, gave his consent and blessing to the establishment of the Shrine of St. Therese.

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 “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” (Rom 10:17)

  • Chapel with Flowers
  • Chapel front
  • Chapel side
  • Chapel nave
  • Chapel Altar
  • Crucifix outside Chaple

Stations of the Cross

The stone structures sheltering scenes of Christ's final hours of human life are a Catholic devotional practice called the Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross). Each of the Stations describes a scene from the passion, death, or resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Station rock structures were built about 1940. However, new sculptures were created by the artist R.D. Robinson and installed April 1989.

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The salvation which God offers us is the work of his mercy. No human efforts, however good they may be, can enable us to merit so great a gift. God, by his sheer grace, draws us to himself and makes us one with him.[79] He sends his Spirit into our hearts to make us his children, transforming us and enabling us to respond to his love by our lives. The Church is sent by Jesus Christ as the sacrament of the salvation offered by God. Francis

  • Stations trail
  • Station closeup
  • Station
  • Station trail
  • Station

Good Shepherd Rosary Trail

Located just across Shrine Creek is a walking path called the Good Shepherd Rosary Trail which is wheelchair navigable.  This path begins with a bronze plaque of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who reaches out and cares especially for those who are less fortunate in the “eyes of the world”.

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Jesus’ whole life, his way of dealing with the poor, his actions, his integrity, his simple daily acts of generosity, and finally his complete self-giving, is precious and reveals the mystery of his divine life. Whenever we encounter this anew, we become convinced that it is exactly what others need, even though they may not recognize it: “What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23) Francis

  • Trail start
  • Plaquard
  • Rosary stop
  • Rosary stop

Pieta Statue

At the end of the Good Shepherd Rosary Trail is a replica of Michelangelo's famous statue "The Pieta." The statue depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary cradling in her arms the body of her beloved son, Jesus, after he was removed from the Cross.

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Star of the new evangelization, help us to bear radiant witness to communion, service, ardent and generous faith, justice and love of the poor, that the joy of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the earth, illuminating even the fringes of our world.

Mother of the living Gospel, wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,  pray for us.

Amen. Alleluia!

Francis
 

  • Pieta grotto
  • Pieta close up

Merciful Love Labyrinth

The Merciful Love Labyrinth was constructed in the spring of 2001. Just as the Chapel builders had done in the 1930's to provide rocks for the Shrine Chapel, Stations of the Cross and other building foundations as a labor of love, volunteers of all ages carried stones from the beach nearby for constructing the Merciful Love Labyrinth. 

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God's mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14). ... Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish. Francis

  • Labyrinth at Dusk
  • Children in Labyrinth
  • Labyrinth through window
  • Labyrinth
  • Labyrinth in snow

Columbarium and Gardens

The National Shrine Columbarium was constructed on Shrine property overlooking Pearl Harbor in 1998. The Columbarium is a final resting place for ashes of many Catholics and non-Catholic Christians awaiting the Resurrection.

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Jesus has shown us that (through his death and resurrection), “death is not the last word.” And faith in this resurrection transforms us into “men and women of hope, not despair, men and women of life, not death.”

“This hope, rekindled in us by the word of God, helps us to be trusting in the face of death.”

Francis

  • Columbarium cross
  • Columbarium left
  • Columbarium right
  • Columbarium snow
  • Columbarium closeup

Shrine Causeway

The National Shrine causeway, limited to foot traffic, provides access to Shrine Island. The original causeway, set in place before the Chapel was constructed, was built with logs, rocks and fill. The body of water north of the causeway is called Pearl Harbor, and it opens up to the Inside Passage waterway known as Lynn Canal.  On clear days, the craggy, snow-covered Chilkat Mountains can be seen in the distance.

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  • Causeway
  • Causeway history
  • Causeway flowers
  • Causeway side
  • Causeway pilgram

Gift Shop

The Shrine Gift Shop is located in the LeVasseur Cabin, named after the man who first envisioned this Shrine and was instrumental in promoting it, Fr. William G. LeVasseur, S.J. The Gift Shop is stocked with numerous Catholic sacramentals, including medals, rosaries, books, crosses and special items relating to St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

  • Gift Shop
  • Gift Shop

Caretakers' Cabin

The Caretaker's Home has seen many additions over the years. It began as a one-room log cabin with chapel in 1938. Although originally used as a retreat master's cabin and even considered as a convent site, it is now used to house the Shrine caretakers. It has been home for more than eleven different families. The Caretakers (Deacon Jeff and Lisa) reside on-site year round and are responsible maintaining the Shrine and greeting visitors from around the world.

  • caretaker's cabin
  • caretaker's cabin