We spent the past weekend in Ohio visiting friends, checking out the Columbus Zoo and pinching the cheeks of my littlest baby. It was a wonderful time and so nice to get out of the house after our long bout of sickness. The drive home was about six hours and because we’re insane we decided to add on a two-hour detour. Adding two hours onto a car journey with a toddler is truly living on the edge, my friends. The detour was to Maria Stein, Ohio, to see the amazing Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics. For those of you who have never heard of such a place, this shrine contains one of the largest collections of first degree relics in the United States. The relics are housed in an extraordinary chapel, run by the Sisters of the Precious Blood. In addition to the shrine the grounds are stunning. As soon as Sean mentioned it to me, I wanted to go. I could venerate saints’ shin bones all day and be a very happy woman.
Words can’t even begin to describe what it felt like to be in the presence of these relics. We saw relics from all of the apostles, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Francis of Assisi to name a few. There was a piece of the true cross and a relic of St. Peregrine, the patron saint to patients with cancer. There were hundreds of saints there. It was breathtaking. In addition we made friends with some nuns who were passing through on their way back to Michigan. They were instantly drawn to Hazel’s smile and sweetness. One cuddled Hazel while I looked at relics. For a moment I wasn’t sure she was going to give her back. And thus began Hazel’s life as a cloistered nun!
I grew up in England and have spent a lot of time in beautiful cities. Since returning to Illinois, I’ve definitely been guilty of feeling like the Midwest is somewhat devoid of culture. This trip showed me how wrong I am. There are beautiful things to be found everywhere, even in the remote cornfields of Ohio.
A big thank-you to Abbie and PJ for hosting!