Recently, I had the great blessing of visiting the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, in Hanceville, Alabama. It is truly a taste of Europe without leaving the states.
Building this beautiful medieval-style monastery was the idea of Mother Angelica, a Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration who brought this order to Birmingham, AL. fifty years ago.
In 1995, while visiting the Sanctuary of the Divino Nino Jesus in Bogota, Columbia, Mother Angelica received a vision while praying before a small statue of the Divine Child Jesus. The statue came to life and said to her: “Build Me a Temple, and I will help those who help you.”
The Shrine and monastery are home to Mother Angelica and the cloistered nuns and is located on 400 acres of lush farmland. The road is lined with black fence and sweeping vistas of sloping hills on either side. It is both prayerful and majestic.
As you near the Shrine itself, the first view you have is of the large bricked courtyard. It was built large enough to hold 30,000 people! In the center of this is the statue of the Child Jesus, holding out His heart to you. The greatest miracle is inside the sanctuary. A monstrance of nearly 7 feet tall holds the Eucharistic Jesus for all to see!
Several years ago, inspired by the book on Mother Angelica’s life written by Raymond Arroyo , I wrote the song, “Into the Air.” This song was dedicated to Mother and her work of starting EWTN, the world’s largest Catholic Media network.
As Mother Angelica and the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration prepare to celebrate their 5oth anniversary May 20, 2012, we all say … thank you!
I pray that you will be able to visit sometime, and step into the quiet beauty and contemplation built “on the wings of love and prayer.”