Saturday, July 9, 2016

Ultimate Guide to Holy Places in Colorado

The state of Colorado is absolutely breathtaking. There are innumerable hiking trails and parks to visit. Obviously, with the immense beauty that illuminates this state, there are also several Holy Places that are a must see. Personally, I have only been the St. Mary's Cathedral but now that I have researched these holy places I would love to visit every single one at some point within the year.

This gorgeous cathedral is located in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs. There are many unique statues and paintings that adorn the outside and inside of this cathedral. I have actually visited St. Mary's Cathedral several times and have enjoyed the daily mass at noon. One of the best attributes of the cathedral is that there is an established congregation of parishioners and it is not just a place that most visit once because of its great location. There mission statement is as follows:

St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral is a historic downtown parish and the seat of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. We comprise a diverse community of believers committed to serve and welcome all people. We stand for unity in our diversity by expressing our love of God through prayer, worship, and outreach. The Cathedral offers the faithful a rich sacramental life and is a refuge for all who seek solace, peace, and renewal.

There is a rich history within the cathedral that has been in Colorado Springs since 1860 thanks to the gold rush. Since it was first built, it has undergone several remodeling and redecorating projects to bring it to its current splendor. 

The location of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration is in a peaceful area of Colorado Springs known as Mount St. Francis. This is a Catholic community of Franciscan women that believe in the importance of Eucharistic Adoration. The sisters of this congregation have roots in Germany and follow the teachings of Saint Francis, Saint Clare and Venerable Maria Theresia Bonzel. This community is also attached to the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.  

Located in the state's capital in Denver, the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception has a rich history. The Cathedral was consecrated in 1921 and elevated to a minor basilica on December 25, 1979. John Paul II celebrated Mass at the Cathedral on World Youth Day for the celebration held in Denver in August 1993. After the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was dedicated, the Rocky Mountain News reported, "May the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception long stand, its spires an expression of the questing, upturned face of humanity, its chimes an eternal call to the spirituality that stirs within us, and its doors a haven to the weary-hearted in search of hope and rest!"

Located in Golden, Colorado, the Mother Cabrini Shrine was built to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. The shrine offers a variety of different facilities including the Cabrini Gardens, Cabrini Museum, Gift Shop, Grotto, Stairway of Prayer, the Spring and beautiful Rosary Garden. The Cabrini Gardens and Museum were opened to depict life and missionary work of  Saint Cabrini. The Grotto is a replica of the grotto at Lourdes, France built because of the visions Saint Bernadette had of the Immaculate Conception. The Stairway of Prayer leads to the top of the Mount of the Sacred Heart and allows you to pray the Stations of the Cross. The stations are made of stone mosaics and at the end of the stairway is the Heart of Stones. The stones were placed in the shape of a heart on Mother Cabrini's last visit dedicating the hill to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Spring that provides all the water to the Shrine is thought to have healing powers. 

The Shrine of the Stations of the Cross is located on a mesa in the center of San Luis, Colorado's oldest town. The Shrine is formally known as "la Mesa de la Piedad y de la Misericordia" (Hill of Piety and Mercy) and is a historical and religious landmark. The Stations of the Cross were sculpted by Hubert Maestasare and depict a series of graphic meditations of the last hours of Christ's life. As you walk the half mile trail, you will view fifteen sculptures depicting Jesus’s judgment, sufferings, death, and resurrection. It is free to come visit this holy site but donations are accepted as well.

In 1920 The Shrine of St. Anne was established in Arvada, Colorado. The shrine is a church dedicated to St. Anne who was the Blessed Virgin Mary’s mother. The church is privileged to possess a precious relic of Saint Anne, a particle of her wrist bone. The reliquary (a cabinet housing the relic) is located in the chapel, allowing the relic to be displayed to the faithful. The relic is presented for public veneration on the feast day of St. Anne, July 26th.

The Shrine of St. Therese is located in Pueblo, Colorado and Perpetual Adoration is hosted everyday because Saint Therese is the patroness of the diocese and this location is a special place for prayer and pilgrimage. This is shrine is relatively new being completed in 1994 and was built to be architecturally similar holy places in France. 

Nada Hermitage

Nada Hermitage is a small community in Crestone, Colorado of men and women who live a communal life (apostolic hermits) according to the Carmelite teachings. There is another retreat location that is apart of the Spiritual Life Institute but it is located in Ireland. Both locations are open to people of all faiths who are looking for a quiet place to reconnect to God. This serene community is situated at the base of the Sangre de Christo (Blood of Christ) mountain and offers great hiking and landscapes to be enjoyed during spiritual retreats. 

This particular shrine to Mary has a lot of mystery surrounding it. The beautiful chapel was created in 1934 and housed a glorious statue of Mary in Trinidad, Colorado. In 1962, vandals broke the state into more than 200 pieces but a very skilled man named Sam Arguello and his son were able to put it back together. The finding of this beautiful statue is just as magical and has become a legend that no one can prove or disprove. Here is the legend as written on the Ave Maria Shrine website:

In 1908 a Trinidad physician, was leaving Mount San Rafael Hospital, after all night duty. It was already dawn, and although a snowstorm was in progress, he was persistent to make it home.  As he was leaving the hospital he noticed a glimmer of light flickering on the hill directly behind the hospital.  At first, he gave it little attention, believing the spray of snow flurries were creating an illusion.  Then the possibility of someone hurt or stranded captured his attention.  Even at the early morning hour and in the middle of a snowstorm, the good doctor ascended the hill where the light originated.  The frozen ground and steep slope made the climb very hazardous in his pursuit to reach the small clearing. 

Upon reaching the clearing, he was spellbound at the sight of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with a lit candle flickering at its base.  Awed by the vision of such a beautiful statue, he reached out and touched its outstretched hand while calling out to see if anyone was nearby. After calling out for several minutes and no one answered, he decided to stay by the statue until daybreak.
When word of the doctors discovery spread throughout the community, reactions were varied.  some believed that some person had to have been on the hill, while others were skeptical as to how a 250 pound statue could have been left on the hill, kept a candle lit during a blizzard and then disappear into thin air.  But the more faithful residents accepted this as a divine sign from God that a shrine should be built in Her honor on this mountain.

The early settlers erected a small lava rock shrine, where Our Lady was placed, and the faithful made daily pilgrimages and offered prayers to God through here intersession. 

I would love to hear about anyone's experiences at these Holy Places or some of the gorgeous photos that you may have taken on your pilgrimage. I promise to share mine once I plan some trips in the very near future.

God Bless


  1. I've only ever been to the Cathedral Basilica, and that was at my Call to Continuing Conversion in 2010. It was very crowded and the events of the evening are somewhat of a blur. I will never forget the beauty, though, and how even in just a few brief seconds of conversation the then Archbishop Chaput made me feel like the only person in the room. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the occasion. I've enjoyed reading about these places.

    One other place I've been is the Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale. I loved visiting and praying there. I might have some pictures. If I do, I'll post!

    1. Thank you! Before I decided to write this post, I was looking up places to travel with my family and decided the info I found was too good not to share. Saint Bernadette was my confirmation saint and Saint Anne is my baptismal saint so I am extremely excited to go visit The Mother Cabrini Shrine's grotto and The Shrine of St. Anne! I hope you do find some pictures! I love looking at the intricate detail of the architecture and decor in these beautiful places.

  2. We are visiting Colorado this fall and will be in Boulder. Are any of these close by? What a great resource! :)

    1. Actually most of the places are within an hour or two of Boulder. The Shrine of Saint Anne, Mother Cabrini Shrine and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception would be the closest I believe. You will have to share some pictures if you get a chance to visit!