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Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament January 4, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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I promised to give an update on our trip to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.   In a word, it was stupendous.  The Shrine itself, which many have seen on TV on EWTN, is very beautiful.  It marks a return to attractive, uplifting sacred art and architecture that are uplifting to mind and soul.  The physical surroundings of the 380 acres of the Shrine are also very, very pastoral, with hills and stands of pine trees and a river winding around most of the Shrine property.  It is truly a place to reflect on God’s majesty. 

The most impressive thing, however, was the people.  Everyone we met, from the brief moments of saying hello to the extern nuns of Our Lady of Angels monastery, to the priests from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word celebrating Mass in a truly grace-filled, reverent style, to the young men of the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, was both amazingly dedicated to serving God through Christ’s Church and very friendly and radiantly filled with the Holy Spirit.  In addition, the laity attending Mass were also, without exception, some of the holiest lay men and women I have ever met.  Everyone there had a purpose, to give glory to God, to study his Word, to praise him in prayer and song, and to engage in fellowship with like minded people. 

Every day begins with the prayers of the Divine Office at 6 am, followed by Mass at 7.  It was a little early getting the kids out of bed for Mass at 7, but they liked it, especially the older girls.  There are also prayers at mid-day and in the late afternoon/evening.  The singing and praying by the nuns is very beautiful.  Their treatment of time-tested hymns and chanting of prayers is not only uplifting, but also serves as a reminder of how far short so many ‘modern’ hymns fall.

Another great thing is that there is a complete devotion to orthodox Catholic doctrine and practices.  One does not have to worry about centering prayers or enneagrams here. 

For lodging, there are a number of very nice ‘lodges’ just outside the entrance to the Monastery, not more than a 2-3 minute drive away.  They are not really lodges, but houses divided into 2 or 3 units.  Ours was very pleasant.  It had 3 bedrooms and a full kitchen, along with a large living area, and the price was quite reasonable. 

Many people have apparently moved to the Hanceville area to be near the Shrine.  I can see why.  I definitely want to return.  It was a truly wonderful retreat.  A far, far cry from certain, other ‘retreats’ I’ve been dealing with.

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