Category Archives: Travel: USA

A Visit to The Shrine of Christ’s Passion in St. John, Indiana.

Text and photographs by John P. Walsh

INTRODUCTION

One hour’s drive (about 40 miles) south of downtown Chicago– and 90 minutes drive from the University of Notre Dame near South Bend, Indiana, is The Shrine of Christ’s Passion. Within a 30-acre site whose landscaped rocks, hills, and trees envelop the visitor, the shrine is located on busy U.S. 41 at 10630 Wicker Avenue in St. John, Indiana. A pioneer town settled in 1837, St. John still sits among farm fields though there is increasingly more development only minutes from the Indiana-Illinois state line.

On the historic Wachter family farm, the level terrain is a perfect outdoor setting for an array of multi-media and interactive attractions. Most visitors, whether as individuals or in groups, come to the shrine to traverse the half-mile winding concrete pathway that contain over 40 life-sized bronze sculptures which dramatize the Passion of Jesus Christ in the Bible.

The visit to the shrine begins in the well-stocked gift shop and leads directly outdoors to the dramatization of Jesus at The Last Supper and into the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prays. This is followed by the 14 traditional Stations of the Cross. The visit ends at Jesus’s empty tomb and his appearance to Mary Magdalene. Finally there is the dramatic Ascension of the Risen Jesus into Heaven on Mount Olivet.  

The shrine opened in 2011 and added its latest attractions in 2017. This is a re-creation of the rock-filled path up Mount Sinai to where Moses has received the 10 Commandments.

The Shrine of Christ’s Passion required a decade of planning and over $10 million dollars to build. Each setting or station for Christ’s passion has an orientation kiosk. Each features the well-known recorded voice of American television journalist Bill Kurtis. A push of a button has Mr. Kurtis’s voice over the kiosks’ speakers provide a clear and brief description in English of the sculptures’ scenes followed by a short meditation.

Along the broad concrete pathway the prayer trail is meditative and its easy progression from station to station lends itself to discovery. Formed hills, planted trees, bushes, and grasses as well as many large boulders, provide a complete landscape far from the outside world. The design creates a terrain that is self-contained and works to evoke the arid climate of the Holy Land where the last days of Christ can become vibrant today.

Upon exiting the gift shop with its walls and shelves of tempting religious articles and other items for purchase — all proceeds apparently go to the upkeep of the shrine– one steps into an outdoor pastoral setting which offers the immediate transition into the world of the Bible and following in the footsteps of Christ during his darkest moments. Visitors share the trail with others from around the nation and world. This is part of what makes each visit to the shrine unique and alive. Yet there is ample space and freedom to enjoy one’s own completely personal experience.

Whenever one may visit the shrine — it is open 361 days a year– the prayer trail has an atmosphere that is quiet and respectful. There is always a place to sit and drink in the sculpture art detailing the greatest story ever told. Among its flora, evocative rock and land formations, and realistically-rendered life-sized sculptures depicting Jesus Christ’s suffering –- one witnesses in a a new way Christ’s mission which triumphed over sin and death. 

A large and impressive place, The Shrine of Christ’s Passion retains a human scale along with giving the visitor a sense of being serenely out in nature.  Depending on how much time a visitor can spend, a visit to the shrine could possibly be accomplished in as little as 30 minutes though at least an hour should be allowed to see and savor everything it has to offer.

In addition to the main prayer trail and gift shop, the shrine includes more attractions such as the Moses, Mount Sinai, and the 10 Commandments trail; The Sanctity of Life Shrine; and Our Lady of The New Millennium, a monumental three-story (34 feet) tall statue of the Virgin Mary constructed out of over 8,000 pounds of stainless steel.

The Shrine is operated by a non-denominational nonprofit, private foundation. Admission to all attractions at the shrine is free. The Shrine is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Thursdays until 8:00 p.m. The Prayer Trail is open year round, weather permitting.  

Sources –
The Shrine of Christ’s Passion Official website – http://shrineofchristspassion.org/
Our Lady of the New Millennium – https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2011-03-04-ct-talk-mary-statue-0305-20110304-story.html

PHOTOGRAPHS

Main Entrance on U.S. 41 at 10630 Wicker Avenue in St. John, Indiana, minutes from the Illinois-Indiana state line. Just 40 minutes from downtown Chicago, there is ample free parking and tour buses are welcome.

The Gift Shoppe.

The Last Supper Luke 22:19

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Garden of Gethsemane Mark 14:34

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” Jesus said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

THE 14 STATIONS OF THE CROSS AT THE SHRINE OF CHRIST’S PASSION, ST. JOHN, INDIANA.

1. Jesus is condemned to death Matthew 27: 19-26

“Pilate had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”

2. Jesus carries His cross John 19:16-17

“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).”

3. Jesus falls for the first time Isaiah 53:1-3

“He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”

4. Jesus meets His mother, Mary Lamentations 1:12

“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
    Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering
    that was inflicted on me..?”

5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross Luke 23:26

“They seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.”

6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus Psalm 17:15

“As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
    when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”

7. Jesus falls for the second time   Isaiah 53:4-6

“Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.”

8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem Luke 23:27-31

“A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.”

9. Jesus falls for the third time Isaiah 53:10-11

“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand….”

10. Jesus is stripped of His clothes Matthew 27:27-31

“They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him.”

11. Jesus is nailed to the cross Luke 23:33-34

“When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.”

12. Jesus dies on the cross­ Luke 23:44-49

 “Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.”

13. Jesus is taken down from the cross Mark 15:39

“When the centurion who stood facing him saw how Jesus breathed his last he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!'”

14. Jesus is placed in the tomb Luke 23:50-53

“Going to Pilate, Joseph of Arimathea asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.”

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene John 20:16

 “Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” 

Images from the Prayer Trail

The Ascension Acts of the Apostles 1:9

“…Jesus was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.”

Introduction and all Photographs ©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.


Braddock Road: Twelve Springs Camp, Pennsylvania.

National PikeThe Braddock Road, south-central Pennsylvania, March 20, 2010.

The Braddock Road was a military road built in 1755 in what was then British America and is now the United States. It was the first improved road to cross the barrier of the ridge lines of the Appalachians. It was constructed by about 2,500 troops of the Virginia militia and British regulars commanded by General Edward Braddock (1695-1755), part of the expedition to conquer the Ohio Country from the French at the beginning of the French and Indian War (1756-63). George Washington, who was aide-de-camp to Braddock, had pioneered this route a year earlier when he traveled into the Ohio Country and met Native American leader, Tanacharison (1700-1754).  The expedition gave Washington his first field military experience as well as other American military officers whose numbers profited from this military outing later during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783).

Braddock’s men had to cut a road wide enough to accommodate the wagons and draft animals that accompanied them, as well as the siege artillery that they brought along to use against the new Fort Duquesne established by the French in 1754 at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.  Progress was painstakingly slow until Braddock split the force into a lead column of about 1,500 men and the rest as a support column to drag artillery and supplies. The flying column made rapid progress, and with each day, the distance between it and the support column increased. This marker is on the (later) National Pike (Route 40) between Elk Park and Farmington, Pennsylvania.

The amazing natural event of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, May 18, 1980. (40 photographs).

 

By John P. Walsh, May 18, 2016.

“Nobody lies about her lodestone any more. She burned and destroyed the whole park! Killed people too – what a pity! Only scientists are out there now. What’s there to see, dear? Isn’t it all in ruins?”

 

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The Mount St. Helens eruption, May 18, 1980.

This is what the lady innkeeper told me in Portland, Oregon, before I set out in the car one early July morning in the 1990s to visit the crater.

“It’s a pity she blew. It was such a pretty mountain before. WAS, I say. The kids loved camping at its base. It was so easy for them to get in and out. Then she blew and changed everything.” I waved my good-byes and started the two-hour drive.

1980-Mt-St-Helens-BEFORE-eruption USFS Photo #15 taken before 18 May 1980 by Jim Nieland,

As seen from Spirit Lake, Mount St. Helens in 1980 BEFORE the eruption on May 18, 1980. United States Forest Service (USFS) photo by Jim Nieland.

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Earthquakes, avalanches and a ten-minute eruption on May 18, 1980 toppled nearly 4,000 feet from the mountain summit.

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In April 1980 a bulge developed on the north side of Mt. St. Helens as magma pushed up inside it. Photo by Peter Lipman.

USGS vulcanologist Dave Johnston collects samples from Mount St. Helens crater lake on April 30, 1980

United States Geological Service volcanologist Dave Johnston collects samples from Mount St. Helens crater lake on April 30, 1980.

At 8:32 a.m. on Sunday, May 18, 1980, an earthquake followed by a landslide and near simultaneous volcanic blast changed forever – and in less than 10 minutes – a Cascades landscape of 230 square miles. Months before the unexpected blast, volcano watchers had camped near the mountain, including scientists and photographers, who were interested to gauge its recent unusual seismic and geological activity and capture what the mountain may do. Local property owners pressured authorities to be let back into their homes during this uncertain and, as it turned out, critically dangerous waiting period. Especially good weather brought out an extra contingent of weekend campers, backpackers and curiosity seekers to the mountain, many from Portland only 70 miles away.

Eruption Of Mt. St. Helens From Portland

Eruption Of Mt. St. Helens From Portland, ending 123 years of dormancy.

Everybody I talked to during my 1991 visit remembered 83-year-old Harry Randall Truman who lived by the mountain for over half his life and refused to leave in the days and weeks before the May 18, 1980 eruption. Not sure whether the mountain would blow or not, Truman, who served in the U.S. military in Europe in World War One, resigned himself to the mountain’s fiery whims. When the 1000-story high burbling volcano finally did blow, the avalanche and blast buried Mr.Truman, as it did Spirit Lake, in 350,000 acre-feet of fire and ash  debris. Mr. Truman’s body was never recovered nor did he represent the only loss of human life in the eruption. 

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Harry Randall Truman (1896-1980), who lived by Mount St. Helens for 54 years, died in the eruption after he refused to evacuate.

REID-BLACKBURN-297x300Reid Blackburn, 27, was a photographer at The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Washington. He was killed in the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Reid Blackburn, 27, a photographer at The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Washington, was killed in the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Blackburn got caught in the blast at Coldwater Camp. While his car and body were recovered four days later, his camera only resurfaced after a week.

camper containing two victims of the Mount St. Helens eruption sits amidst the gray landscape about 8 miles from the mountain may 20 1980

This camper contains two victims of the Mount St. Helens eruption in a gray landscape about eight miles from the mountain, May 20, 1980.

In this May 17, 1980 photo, 30-year old vulcanologist David Johnston is shown in the evening at his camp near what is now known as Johnston Ridge near Mount St. Helens.

The day before the blast – in this May 17, 1980 photo – 30-year-old volcanologist David Johnston is shown in the evening at his camp near what is now known as Johnston Ridge near Mount St. Helens. A principal scientist on the monitoring team, Johnston perished while manning an observation post 6 miles away on the morning of May 18, 1980. Johnston was the first to report the eruption, transmitting “Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!” before he was swept away by the lateral blast. Johnston’s remains were never found, but state highway workers discovered remnants of his USGS trailer in 1993.

streets of Yakima, Washington may 18

Streets of Yakima, Washington, May 18, 1980.

Only a few months before my July 1991 visit the authorities had re-opened Mount St. Helens for the first time in more than a decade. It was named a National Volcanic Monument and deemed safe again for visitors. After Bear Meadow I followed the prolonged twisting road to past Ghost Lake, Meta Lake and Norway Pass until I reached Independence Pass. From its overlook I saw  for the first time the ashen slough that had been Spirit Lake. For years prior to May 1980 several camps inhabited the shore around the lake’s perimeter. There had also been various lodges around the oblong-shaped lake including the one Mr. Truman lived in. On May 18, 1980 Spirit Lake met the full impact of the volcano’s lateral blast. The sheer force of the blast lifted the lake out of its bed and propelled it about 85 stories into the air to splash onto adjacent mountain slopes. Despite the weeks of warnings about a potential eruption of Mount St. Helens, the sole film records of the actual event are in photographs.

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Spirit Lake a few days after the eruption on May 18, 1980.

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Mount St. Helens erupts at 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980. First in a series of photographs by Willard Pennell.

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Mt. St. Helens eruption: second in a series of photographs by Willard Pennell.

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Third in a series of photographs by Willard Pennell.

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Fourth in a series of photographs by Willard Pennell.

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Fifth in a series of photographs by Willard Pennell.

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Sixth in a series of photographs by Willard Pennell.

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Taken from a rest area near Lewiston, Idaho, on May 18, 1980, Mammatus clouds caused by volcanic ash hover over the Palouse of southeastern Washington, north central Idaho and northeast Oregon. Photograph by Betty Ehr.

At 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980 a 5.2-magnitude earthquake triggered the bulging north slope of Mount St. Helens to slice and fall away into the biggest debris avalanche in recorded history. This landslide was rapidly succeeded by the powerful lateral blast that sent scorching hot ash and rock hurtling out of the mountain at approximately 300 miles per hour, toppling and incinerating everything in its northward path. Fifteen miles away from the mountain temperatures reached Fahrenheit 572 degrees.

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Entering the “Restricted Zone” of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in July 1991. About eight miles away, the collapsed north face of the mountain looms in the distance. Mount St. Helens was partially destroyed by a series of earthquakes followed by the largest debris avalanche in history and a blast and pyroclastic flow that flattened everything in its path over 230 square miles.

While in 2016 plant and animal life continue to recover and augment as it has for decades now,  my boots in 1991 crunched into a gray, dusty moon-like surface. From Spirit Lake to Windy Ridge I was confronted by trees flattened like toothpicks as far as the eye could see, and a cauldron emitting wispy white smoke. The base of the mountain is four miles wide. The journey had taken me from civilization and delightful wilderness into mile upon mile of  badlands. My bodily presence was miniature in an immense, silent, and deserted landscape, the scene only a decade earlier of the most powerful natural event in the Continental United States in over one thousand years. While I heard some people talk about this volcanic eruption as comparable in its destructive power to that of a detonated atom bomb, I know that sort of comparison is ludicrous. For all its destructive force, this is not a disaster as it contains, if one requires patience to believe it,  a natural benignity – or what scientists  call a natural disturbance on a grand scale which allows mankind to study the natural cycle of death and life in a landscape. An atom bomb provides none of that -it only bestows extinction and contamination.

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A gray, dusty moon-like surface with trees flattened like toothpicks as far as the eye could see. At Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, July 1991. Photo John P. Walsh.

Ash and gas, accompanied by lightning, ascended 15 miles into the air at the speed of a mile a minute. In a blast that killed 57 people – many of whom were there to study and record its possible eventuality – it also decimated approximately 7,000 large animals and 12 million salmon. No trees of dense forest were left standing within 6 miles of the summit. Rescue operations continued for days with varied success.

Army National Guard helicopter pilot Harold Kolb rescues two men and their sons

Army National Guard helicopter pilot Harold Kolb rescues two men and their sons from the eruption of May 18, 1980.

horse rescuers gave up their efforts as they fled for their lives as flood waters from the Toutle Rive

Horse rescuers give up their efforts as they fled for their lives before flood waters from the Toutle River.

mudflow deposit covers Washington State Highway 504 near the town of Toutle, northwest of Mount St. Helens, to a depth of 2m (6 ft). USGSR.L. Schuster) #

Mudflow deposits cover State Highway 504 near of Toutle, to a depth of over six feet. Photo by USGS R.L. Schuster.

This aerial view shown May 23, 1980 from a search and rescue helicopter

This aerial view shown May 23, 1980 from a search and rescue helicopter.

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Encountering a washed-out road to the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center in late summer 1980.

in Moscow, Idaho more than 350 miles away (AP Photo Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Over 350 miles away from the eruption – in Moscow, Idaho, May 18, 1980.

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After the May 18, 1980 eruption, five more explosive eruptions took place at Mount St. Helens in 1980 including this spectacular one on July 22, 1980. Photo by Mike Doukas.

July-1980-Aerial-view-pryoclastic-flow-emerging-from-Mount-St_-Helens-craterUSGS Photo #22 taken at 701 p.m., on July 22, 1980, by Harry Glicken

July 1980 aerial view of pyroclastic flow from Mt. St. Helens. USGS Photo July 22, 1980, by Harry Glicken.

a helicopter stirs up ash while trying to land in the devastated area on August 22nd, 1980. USGSLyn Topinka

A helicopter stirs up ash while trying to land in the devastated area on August 22, 1980. Photo by Lyn Topinka United States Geological Service.

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An eruption from Mount St. Helens on March 8, 2005. In 2016 the volcano is showing increased signs of significant seismic activity. AP Photo/USGS Matt Logan.

Fireweed with Spirit Lake n September 4, 1984

Fireweed on the slopes of Spirit Lake only four years after the eruption (September 1984).

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Statue of a man planting trees, dedicated to those who replanted the area around Mount Saint Helens, Wash.

Statue of a man planting trees, dedicated to those who replanted the area around Mount Saint Helens after the eruption. In 2016 in nature it is survival of the fittest – while woody plants are beginning to appear with the promise of a forest, the boll weevil is eating the wood.

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Mount St. Helens. The volcano was particularly restless in the mid19th century, when it was notably active off and on for a 26-year span from 1831 to 1857. Canadian artist Paul Kane (1810–1871) painted Mount St Helens Erupting At Night in 1847 (Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto).

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Poster art of Mount St. Helen’s Eruption by Paul A. Lanquist. A view through the trees of the rising ash plume during the eruption of Mount St Helen’s on May 18, 1980 in Washington state. Once a dormant volcano, it is now quite active with frequent earthquakes and periodic plumes of steam and ash.

 

Mount st Helens May 18, 1980

Text©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by an means, electronic  or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.