On my drive back to Virginia from Boston’s Catholic New Media Conference, I seemed to be guided by the Holy Spirit on a pilgrimage that I was not expecting. Starting my day on Monday with 7am Mass, and I decided to visit the St. Anthony Shrine in downtown Boston. This is a wonderful ministry church that serves many people in acts of mercy and support to those most in need. Fr. Ronald Stark was the celebrant of the morning Mass, and I was able to talk with him after Mass about our new ministry at Catholic Web Services called Greater Good Technology, in helping bring technology to the homeless offering on-line training to help get employment. I told Fr. Stark we would love to help bring this program to Boston and other communities, and we are hoping for prayers and donations to help us make this happen. Father Stark gave his blessings to the ministry and wished me well on my journey home.
Old Sturbridge Village
In leaving Boston, my Honda CRV needed some gas, and it brought me to Sturbridge, MA. My knee was tight, and I needed a walkabout, so decided to visit Old Sturbridge Village. This was a great blessing that helped my knee as well as gladdening my soul to walk through this beautiful living history village in full Fall colors. Old Sturbridge village brings history to life, and reminds us of how hard life was in the early days of this country and how much we have to be thankful for in America. Old Sturbridge Village depicts life in New England from 1790-1840 on over 200 acres filled with historic buildings and costumed historians.
St. Anne Shrine
My next stop was the gas station, but I guess the Holy Spirit had something else in mind, as I spotted an inviting sign to the Shrine of St. Anne. I had not heard of this shrine, but decided to stop and find out more.
St. Anne Shrine is a sacred place, dedicated to St. Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandmother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pilgrims and visitors come to the Shrine seeking physical and spiritual healing, and in this peace-filled atmosphere they find hope, strength and comfort for themselves and their loved ones. The St. Anne Shrine just celebrated its 125th Anniversary last year.
The natural beauty of the grounds, the Way of the Cross, the Lourdes Grotto, the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs) and many other prayerful places provide an ideal setting for contemplation and meditation. There is also a well-stocked gift store that also has a Russian icon exhibit that is the property of the Augustinians of the Assumption who help run the shrine. I was very spiritually moved by this wonderful shrine, and encourage you to stop by for spiritual renewal. It is amazing the read the letters from people whose prayers were answered, and to see all the crutches and rosaries hanging near the relic of St. Anne, a testament to the miracles at this holy site.
Shrine for St. Anne for mothers
My next stop was for lunch and gas in Waturbury, Connecticut. I spotted a beautiful church and drove up to it. To my surprise it was named Shrine of St. Anne for mothers. It is a place of pilgrimage and worship where we promote the sanctity of life by honoring and praying for our mothers, grandmothers and godmothers. The Shrine of St. Anne is evolving from the French Canadian ethnic parish of greater Waterbury into a Shrine, and has been undertaking a major fundraising and restoration effort. This is a beautiful shrine and parish, and must see it if you are driving through Connecticut.
Great lunch tip from my Yelp App: Frankie’s Hot Dogs –worth the visit in Waterbury.
As sunset was pending, I stopped in Pennsylvania for a break and a lady suggested that I go see the town of Bethlehem on the way home, noting its beauty. It was a lovely drive through the Delaware River Valley and crossing the Appalachian Trail, where I also passed through the town of Nazareth (a town associated with Jesus, Mary, and Anne). Upon arrival in the town of Bethlehem I could see a large lighted star on a mountaintop overlooking the village, and then looking to my right I saw a neon sign on top of a building “Hotel Bethlehem.” Wow, I hope when Jesus has his second coming that he is welcomed at the inn? What a great spirit-filled trip home, and thankful for the great experiences and people I met in Boston and on my journeys.
St. Anthony Shrine & Ministry Center (Boston)
Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge, MA)
St. Anne Shrine (Sturbridge, MA)
Shrine of St. Anne for mothers (Waterbury, CT)
Catholic New Media Conference (Boston)