Friday, September 21, 2012

Carmelite Shrine: Munster, IN

For this trip I am off to Hammond, Indiana.  I know, I know...where?

Hammond, IN is right across the Indiana/Illinois border.  My customer says that sometimes it doesn't feel like she is from Indiana because of their close proximity to Chicago.

Which is where I fly in and out of.  Downtown Chicago in the distance.

On the way to the hotel, I make a side trip to the Carmelite Shrines in Munster, Indiana.  This tip came from the Roadside America app on my iPhone.

Before we go any further, I have a disclaimer.  I am not a religious person, a disclosure that I realize might bother some of you.  I believe things but they probably aren't the same things you believe. For example, I don't think that because you don't consider yourself a Christian - as I don't - that you are a bad person doomed for all eternity.  I don't even want to believe that.  That being said, I several of the posts for Hammond will be about religious places or events.  That wasn't something I set out to do, it just happened that way.  I am interested in religious places, symbols and beliefs of all types.  I won't be preaching or proselytizing, just sharing the interesting pictures and things I saw.  On with the story.

The Carmelite Shrines consist of several shrines and the major ones are closed when I am here.  I am able to wander the grounds only.

I read that they have had some problems with kids damaging things here.  Apparently, they later had a problem with dogs.

There is a lot of statuary here, something I have always liked.  The rosary in young Jesus' hand is real.

Pope John Paul II.  Someone put those flowers there recently, they are just starting to wilt.

Saint Raphael Kalinowski, canonized in 1991.
The bottom of Saint Raphael's statue is a little disturbing

The rocky base contains a lot of skulls. 

If you want to know about his life, there is a big board to accommodate that.  Which is a good thing since I have terrible reception here and can't Google him.  When I return to the hotel I find that there isn't much information on him there anyway.

Saint Maximillian, the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalists, prisoners and the pro-life movement.  There isn't as much information at the shrine about him but when I Google him at the hotel I learn he is a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger at Auschwitz.  This wasn't carried out in the usual way there.  He and 9 others were placed in a single cell and starved to death.  When he was the only one left, he was given an injection of carbolic acid.  He was canonized in 1982.

Saint Therese of Lisieux, also known as "The Little Flower of Jesus".  She is the patron saint of Russia, France, Missionaries, AIDS sufferers, florists & gardeners, loss of parents, tuberculosis and the Russicum.  Here she is telling her father of her decision to join the Carmelite order.  She died at age 24 from tuberculosis.  Her writing was complied into the book The Story of a Soul.  I read it several years ago.  She was canonized in 1925.

The Stations of the Cross are spread around the property on a winding concrete path.

This beautiful and architecturally interesting building is the Highlands Chapel.  I think David would like seeing this in person as he enjoys woodworking and this is a testament to some amazing work.

Unfortunately, Jesus looks bored or like a sulky teenager.  I don't think that is what the artist was going for.

Two of the main buildings are closed.  This is the Holy Mother Grotto.

The Tomb. 

I am really sorry I didn't get to see inside of these buildings as I have seen a few photos and am definitely intrigued.  Especially since it is referred to as the Ultraviolet Apocalypse.

On top of the tomb there is a statue of Jesus on the cross.  I walk around to the stairs to go up.

There are two problems with this situation.  First, I am not planning to ascend on my knees.  Second, if you look at the photo you can see someone at the top on the left wearing a blue shirt.  That is a teenage girl.  She isn't alone.

This teenager is up there with her boyfriend.  He is groping her ass while they make out.  Jesus is watching.  I am not sure how they can do this here.  I am not sure why they would do this here.

I walk around the building and find other stairs that you are - I assume since there is no sign - allowed to walk up in the usual way.  Maybe the front stairs are set up that way because you are walking directly towards the statue of Jesus?  I am not sure.  The teenagers saw me when I was at the front stairs and they descend on the other side of the building.

Jesus on the cross, his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene. 

The teenagers are lurking.  They wait for me to go back down the way I came and they come back to the top for more inappropriate touching with the tortured and crucified Jesus looking on.

As I am walking around the back of the Tomb, I spot this lawn furniture.  See the light?  I can almost hear Angels singing "Hallelujah" in my ear.  I have to go over there.

Where I sit and enjoy the quiet grounds a little longer.  And take this totally believable photo of me as an angel. 

I really enjoyed this peaceful place (in spite of the teenagers who were the only other people there). I would like to return someday to see inside the buildings.  There is an industry conference I could attend next year in Chicago so maybe I can work that out for myself then.


  1. Hi Noelle. It's a beautiful place. We had our daughters quincenera there two years ago and just fell in love with with the place, and kind people of the Shrine.

    Sad to hear of teenagers disrespecting the Grotto.

    1. Thank you for commenting and sorry for the lateness in moderating and replying. I have been sick ever since my recent trip to Dallas. This was one of the more interesting places I went last year and would definitely recommend it to anyone in the area.

  2. A beautiful spiritual experience.