Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament
The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, informally known as OLAM Shrine, is a prominent Roman Catholic Latin Rite shrine located in Hanceville, Alabama, United States. Adjacent is the cloistered Monastery of Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration, situated on a 400-acre site and is a religious center affiliated with the Eternal Word Television Network.
The shrine is notable for its gilt interior, solemn atmosphere, and oversize solar monstrance. The shrine is named in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, while the building surroundings are dedicated to the Divino Niño, a title of the Child Jesus found prominently displayed all over the area. Its foundress, Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation currently resides at the cloistered monastery with her group of nuns.
In 1995, while travelling to Colombia to seek assistance for EWTN’s Spanish programs. Mother Angelica attended Mass at the Sanctuary of the Divine Infant Jesus in Bogotá and was inspired to build a shrine honoring the True Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. A 300-acre former soybean farm was located in Hanceville, Alabama. Five anonymous benefactors contributed to the purchase price of the property, along with construction costs and materials. The monastery was consecrated in December 1999.
The exterior is characteristic Romanesque, but incorporates pointed arches and other Gothic elements. Mother Angelica sought to model the shrine on 13th century Italian architecture, with its piazza or plaza square, colonnade, esplanade and various cosmatesque designs. She also wanted the building to reflect materials from all over world. The ceramic tile came from South America. The bronze doors depicting the Seven Joys and Seven Sorrows of Mary were designed and crafted in Spain. The floors, columns, and pillars are made of marble. The rare red Jasper marble is from Turkey. The wood for the pews, doors, and confessionals is cedar imported from Paraguay. Spanish workers came to build the doors. The stain glass windows were imported from Munich, Germany. The stations of the Cross are hand-carved.
A statue of the El Divino Niño is featured prominently one on the side altar of the shrine, as well as a large statue of the child Jesus holding a heart at his palm stands at the plaza square. On the liturgical feast day of Infant Jesus of Prague, a balloon is customarily tied to his wrist.
The Shrine consists of a Cloistered Monastery, Upper and Lower church, near life sized Nativity scene, Grotto, and Castle which houses the gift shop and conference rooms.
In 2004, a storm struck the area, causing the church cross to be damaged. Initially, Mother Angelica accused the Devil as to the reason why the damage occurred. Later on, Mother Angelica and various pilgrims associated the cross with the Tau cross. The damaged remains of the top part of the cross were installed on one of the side hallways of the shrine. Another notable statue in the shrine is a grotesque, overly whipped Jesus Christ, symbolic of his pain and suffering at the cross.
Perpetual Adoration over a 24-hour period is observed by rotating nuns at the shrine. A dress code is enforced in the shrine, banning overly-revealing clothing, including mini-skirts, shorts, tank tops, or sleeveless shirts.
There are also two renovated barns reserved for the friars who serve as custodians of the shrine, and a religious gift shop to accommodate the pilgrims.
- "Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament", Birmingham 365
- "How It All Began", Our Lady of the Angels Monastery
- "About the Shrine", Our Lady of the Angels Monastery
- "Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament", Sweet Home Alabama, Alabama Tourism Department
- EWTN: Video Tour 2008
- Shindelbower, Eric. "Story of a damaged Roman Cross", thecross-photo.com
- "Eucharistic pilgrimage to EWTN and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament".
- "Activities on your pilgrimage to EWTN". Retrieved January 23, 2013.
- "PDF file on Shrine activities for pilgrims". Retrieved January 23, 2013.
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