Secret Shrine - Geneva, IL
Posted by: beta59
N 41° 52.654 W 088° 18.490
16T E 391452 N 4637010
Quick Description: What the Grotto Chapel specifically signified to the monks and why they chose such a remarkable design may never be conclusively determined. This site is worth savoring regardless of your spiritual inclination.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 11/14/2011 2:36:17 PM
Waymark Code: WMD3NQ
A journey to the Sacred Heart Seminary's Grotto Chapel begins at the former estate of noted 19th-century Genevan, Merritt Tuttle Cole and next to a former monastery and seminary; more recently the home to the Kane County Government Center.
A traipse through the woods can present a rewarding treasure. It could be argued that any hike is shaped by one's expectations when beginning. Yet, this theory becomes entirely moot when one jumps well outside the somewhat limiting confines of the imaginary box and encounters an honest-to-goodness surprise.
A brief jaunt, no more than 10 minutes, leads to a slight hill where one is rewarded with a scene more expected in the likes of romanticized medieval England.
Behold, the shrine!
Built sometime after 1925 when the property was sold to Jesuit monks, the outdoor chapel is an imposing stone structure. Its presence is extraordinary, not only for its detailed artistry, but for the fact it makes one question whether there was a glitch in the time-space continuum and a red barn now graces Roman baths.
A detailed mosaic of rocks spread over three arches depicts heaven and earth, a crucifix crossed by two swords (possibly Jesuits as soldiers of Christ), a Monstrance ( chalice that holds the body of Christ), and a lighthouse. The former is bordered with the phrase, "Ignem veni mittere," which translates to "I have come to bring fire." This reference is a tad unusual, as it is normally accompanied by "in Terram", a phrase attributed to none other than Jesus when referring to baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 12:49).
The lighthouse, or flame of divine love, is underlined by, "ego sum lux mundi," or "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). This sentiment may be further reflected by the central arch's ceiling depicting a blue sky pierced by rays of light. The grotto's upper corners are decorated with the Greek letters alpha and omega, referring to the New Testament in which Jesus uses said characters to describe himself; as in embodying both beginning and end. Additionally, a nod to the first three letters of Jesus in Greek, the altar is inscribed with the letters "IHS."
Material(s): concrete and decorative stones
Associated Religion or Church: Catholic
Parking Coordinates: N 41° 52.780 W 088° 18.498
Website: Not listed
Include an original photo of the Outdoor Altar with your visit log.