On the side of Lookout Mountain, in Golden, Colorado, sits a beautiful landscape that holds a peaceful shrine dedicated to Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini - this is the Mother Cabrini Shine.
Although a Colorado/Denver native, this was one spot I had never been until I tagged along with a sister-in-law this summer. Open to the public, free of charge, 365 days a year. Mother Cabrini came to Denver in 1902 to work with the Italian immigrants and miners. This is one of the ways she came to be known as the Patron Saint of Immigrants. What is known today as the Mother Cabrini Shrine, was originally established as a summer camp for orphan girls at Mother Cabrini's Queen of Heaven Orphanage in Denver. The land was purchased in 1909.
While no reliable source of water was known to exist on the property at the time, there were two barns and a spring house that had been built sometime in the late 1800s. The only water was in a small pond next to the spring house. All the water needed for drinking and cooking had to be brought up the canyon from a stream below. The Stone House (middle right) was built between 1912/1914, as a summer dormitory for the orphan girls, and later serving as the convent for the Sisters of the Sacred Heart before the permanent convent building (left bottom) was completed in 1970. The site is self-supporting, receiving no funding from the Archdiocese of Denver.
Mother Cabrini discovered a spring on the property in 1912. A replica of the Grotto of Lourdes was built over the spring in 1929. Demolished and replaced by the current sandstone grotto in 1959, the spring, which is housed in an 8,000 gallon tank, has never stopped running.
The mountain gardens surrounding the grotto and throughout the property are beautiful and serene, offering up some gorgeous Colorado vistas.
The property became a pilgrimage site in 1938, following the beatification of Mother Cabrini, and was established as a shrine in 1946 - the year she was canonized. A 373-step stairway was constructed, following a path Mother Cabrini took to the top of the mountain. Along this staircase, you will find beautiful mosaics depicting the Stations of the Cross, as well as numerous benches should you need to rest on your way to the top - it's quite a climb.
There is also a road running from the bottom to the top, for those not inclined to make the hike.
In 1954, a 22 ft. carved statue depicting the Sacred Heart of Jesus was mounted atop an 11 ft. base, and erected at the highest point of the site.
In 1912, Mother Cabrini took several sisters, and a few children from the orphanage, along what was (at the time) a cow path, to the base of the highest hill. From there, leaving their buggy below, they climbed to the top where they gathered white stones - Mother Cabrini arranged them in the shape of a heart, surmounted by a cross - the Sacred Heart. Those stones remain in the same position to this day, at the base of the statue, covered by a glass case.
An old wagon on the property, where we stopped to watch a large elk herd. In the history of the site (there is a great little museum housed in the old spring house, also), it was mentioned that the girls would load up native stones for the construction of the Stone House, into horse drawn wagons. I can only assume this may be the remains of one of those very conveyances. For more information on this beautiful site, as well as travel directions, click on this link...MOTHER CABRINI SHRINE.