A Detour

Like most of you, I’m wondering where the year went. I’ve been a bit slow to get into the holiday spirit this year. We’re last minute shoppers — why ruin all the fun? A late-in-the-game shopping trip to Santa Claus, Indiana, surely would cast my mood jolly.

It did. The quick trip northeast also brought me to Monte Cassino Shrine. I didn’t plan on it. Leaving the Santa Claus Christmas Store (in the Kringle Place shopping village in Santa Claus), I thought of Monte Cassino Shrine — it couldn’t be more than 15 minutes from where I was, and what rush was I in? (Deadline, meal planning, shopping, cleaning, who’s busy?) So instead of immediately hopping back on Interstate 64, I drove through St. Meinrad, Indiana.

The small chapel of Monte Cassino is located on a hill near the Archabbey and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the mid-1800s, monks and students discovered the location as a favorite spot for hikes, picnics, and games. They named the site Monte Cassino, after the great Italian abbey where St. Benedict founded European monasticism in the sixth century. In 1870, the shrine, constructed of high quality sandstone as it is seen today, was dedicated. Just a year after its dedication, a novena (series of prayers) to the shrine is credited for saving the village of St. Meinrad from a smallpox epidemic.

I didn’t stay long. I lit candles for my parents, grandparents, my husband’s grandparents, and brother, who we will remember, especially, on Christmas Day.

I drove back to town a bit more at ease and ready to welcome the holidays.

I wish you peace and Merry Christmas!

To visit the shrine, follow Indiana 62 east from Saint Meinrad Archabbey (located in St. Meinrad, Indiana) for about a mile. A sign on the left marks the entrance to the shrine.

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