Shrine & Grottos

Black Madonna Shrine & Grottos is an example of what one man can do.

Shrine & GrottosReady?  Let’s begin a walking tour of the Shrine & Grottos.

In 1927, Cardinal Glennon invited Franciscan Brothers from Poland to emigrate and establish a nursing home.  One of these monks was Brother Bronislaus Luszcz.

Madonna in Poland

Growing up in Poland, Bronislaus saw pilgrims honor Mary, Queen of Peace and Mercy.  People traveled to visit the shrine at Jasna Gora.  This monastery and shrine has been a spiritual capital for hundreds of years. People come to commune with the Holy.  There is an icon, a beautiful work of art, that inspires many.  It is known as “The Black Madonna.”   As a young man, Bronislaus embraced a great love and devotion for Mary.  He brought this love to Missouri.

In 1937 Br. Bronislaus began his labor of love

 Missouri offers scrubby, dense forests of oak, walnut, hickory and sycamore trees packed together over limitless rolling hills.  The land can be overgrown with shrubs and inhabited with countless wild creatures.  Clearing the land was a major task.

 Bronislaus built a cedar chapel and placed a painting of Our Lady above the altar.  Soon the chapel offered prayer services.  It became a devotional center.  People came from great distances to visit.

One Sunday evening in 1958 an arsonist set the alter on fire.  The brothers did their best but the blaze consumed the chapel.

Okay, let’s walk about the Shrine & Grottos

Shrine & GrottosCross the bridge and look back.  There’s a quick view of the open air chapel.

It’s an odd thing to see the last part first.  In 1960, Br. Bronislaus suffered heat stroke.  His final project was this grotto in honor of Our Lady of Fatima.  This is just west of the bridge.

Shrine & GrottosOur Lady of Fatima

beginning Our WalkaboutThe Bridge.

The grottos are built by hand.  No power tools, no help.  Native rock, from Old Mines, MO, seas shells and costume jewelry were donated by visitors and sent from foreign missions.

First Grotto, St. FrancisSt. Francis Grotto

There are figurines of tiny creatures, sparkly bits, statues of bunnies, turtles are other creatures all around this grotto.

Up a hill, our next grotto is to honor Joseph.

Faith Filled EnchantmentSt. Joseph

Grottos created by hand

taking one moment

The statues where made by artist Charles Bendel, May 1, 1890 – Feb. 24, 1978.  He immigrated from Czechoslovakia and made his home in St. Louis, MO.  It is said his favorite is a small work of a boy and his dog.

Charles Bendel, artist

Return to Walk About

grotto honoring Lady of Perpetual HelpLady of Perpetual Help

Following along the path the entire story begins to unfold . . .

" . . pray with me for one hour?"Colored glass bits in the roof – so sunlight light shines on our sleeping friends.

Garden & The Cross Hikers find their way in winter because they can see this cross.

Original Monastery StoneOur Lady of Sorrows

Br. Bronislaus built and rebuilt this grotto.  It isn’t as fancy as the others.  The white inlaid wall is from the original monastery chapel.  Originally a picture was displayed instead of this statue.

plenty of storiesThere are plenty of stories about people misbehaving over the years.  Drunks smashing cars through walls, vandals do mischief.  Still this place is a marvel.

Assumption Grotto

follow the pathfollow the path

Assumption Hill

Up the Hill - Mother’s Sanctuary – Up the Hill – above the Grottos we’ve already visited

pool with gold fish and peaceful quietIt’s quiet up here.

One more story:

Happy Birthday StoryThe Happy Birthday Story.

I figure it’s time to go home now.

Shrine & Grottos -100 St. Joseph Hill Rd. Pacific, MO.

Summer Hours: daily 9-7 – Off Season Hours: 9-4 – (Call to verify) Phone:636-938-5361

see ya later.

love & love,

-g-