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 within the Diocese of Birmingham. Adjacent is the cloistered Monastery of the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration, situated on a 400-acre site and a religious center affiliated with the Eternal Word Television Network.
The Shrine is notable for its gilt interior, solemn atmosphere, and 7.5 foot monstrance. The Shrine is named in honor of the Most 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, resided at the cloistered monastery with her nuns until her death in 2016.
In 1995, while travelling to Colombia to seek assistance for EWTN’s Spanish programs, Mother Angelica attended Mass at the Sanctuary of the Divine Child Jesus in Bogotá and was inspired to build a shrine honoring the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Five anonymous benefactors contributed to the purchase of a 400-acre former soybean farm located in Hanceville, Alabama, and to 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 stained glass windows were imported from Munich, Germany. The stations of the Cross inside are hand-carved.
A statue of El Divino Niño is featured prominently one on the side altars 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 Divine Child Jesus, balloons are customarily tied to his wrist for this feast.
The Shrine consists of a Cloistered Monastery, Upper and Lower church, near life sized Nativity scene, Lourdes Grotto, Castle which houses the gift shop and conference rooms, and John Paul II Eucharistic Center (open for tours Mon-Sat 10AM and 2PM).
During construction, a storm struck the area, causing the church cross to be damaged. Initially, Mother Angelica wanted to repair it. Later on, Mother Angelica associated the cross with the Tau cross. The damaged remains of the top part of the cross are on display in the St. Joseph Courtyard. Another notable statue in the Shrine depicts a scourged Jesus Christ, symbolic of his pain and suffering at the cross.
Decorum code and photography rules
The Nuns of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery keep 24-hour Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Out of respect for Our Lord, a dress code is enforced in the shrine, banning overly-revealing clothing, including mini-skirts, shorts, tank tops, or sleeveless shirts. Pull-over attire is available at the Front Desk.
No Photography is permitted in the Main and Lower Church.
People from all over the world make pilgrimages to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Pilgrimages consist of individuals or groups. Groups of ten or more can contact the Pilgrimages Department to set up activities during their stay such as Spiritual Talks, Healing Services, or tours. The Shrine is open 6:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. Monday to Saturday, and Sunday, 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. The Gift Shop is open 8:00 AM-4:45PM Monday-Saturday and closed on Sunday.
- "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
- "Shrine Pilgrimage Packet" (PDF).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Our Lady of the Angels Monastery.|
- Official website
- Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Granda Liturgical Arts -description of church interior]