June 04, 2006

Shrine of St. Therese, Juneau, Alaska!

I have returned from an ordination in Juneau, Alaska. I enjoyed Juneau as a place of spiritual retreat, natural beauty and plain old bourgeois tourism.

If you click on any of these photos, you'll open a larger version of it.

The ordination took place at the parish church of St. Paul the Apostle, nine miles northwest of tiny downtown Juneau. The picture above is not of St. Paul Church, but of the Shrine Chapel of St. Therese. The chapel is on a small rock outcropping a few yards offshore, and is part of a retreat or pilgrimage setting only 22 miles from downtown Juneau. It is a lovely place to make a retreat or vacation.

Newly-ordained Fr. Scott Settimo is a man I have directed for nearly ten years. His ordination, on Wednesday, brought Juneau's number of priests up to twelve. He presided over his first Mass on Thursday at the Shrine Chapel of St. Therese.

The chapel is hidden by the trees. This photo above is a view from the shore. You can see the causeway that was built from the shore to the island.

The island is to the right, and one of the onshore lodges of the shrine is on the left.

The main lodge seen from the water.

From the island you can see salmon, sea lions and orcas (killer whales). In this picture, you see on the right sea lions fleeing into the shallows to escape becoming warm-blooded sashimi for the orcas to the left.

If you'd like to visit Juneau, there are hotels and motels, or you can stay at the shrine. Things were already overbooked at the shrine for guests of the ordination, so I was in a motel near the airport. The motel was actually a great place since it was only one mile from St. Paul Church where the ordination took place. It was also only three miles from the Mendenhall Glacier. I had the use of a rented car that enabled me to visit the Shrine, the glacier and downtown Juneau on my own schedule. There are daily weekday Masses at noon at both St. Paul Church and at the Juneau Cathedral downtown.

The glacier is only about 2.5 miles from the main highway. You drive through a residential neighborhood (lucky people whose backyard is a natural wonder). There is a visitor center, trails, etc. Although you cannot walk up to the glacier itself, you can get close enough. One trail takes you nearly to the foot of a waterfall that tumbles off the mountain to one side of the glacier.

The highway has a speed limit of 55 miles per hour, and people obey it. That was a culture shock for yours truly from San Diego.

In visiting the shrine, I chose to ignore the labyrinth that is on the grounds.

However, the shrine grounds include a rosary trail, a Way of the Cross, a small outdoor columbarium (niches for cremated remains), acres and trails for prayerful walks and solitude.

A link to the shrine website . . . .
Click HERE for it.


Blogger dilexitprior said...

The scenery looks very similar to around here.

By the way, I was visiting the nearby Benedictine Abbey yesterday and I couldn't help but overhear the guestmaster speaking to a couple from California about Prince of Peace Abbey. All nice things were said. I knew I'd heard of it before but couldn't figure out where at first. :-)

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...


Since you mentioned it in the above post, would you mind dedicating a post to what a spiritual director is, what he or she does, and why might a person might seek a spiritual director to assist in their journey?

Also, would you be able to dedicate a post to oblation? What is it (I know you mentioned in briefly in the comments section of an earlier post)? Why might a person consider becoming an oblate? How might being an oblate enhance a person's ability to do Christ's work?

7:54 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

So, Bob,
one post about spiritual directors
and one post about Benedictine oblates.

I'll get to both of those.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...


To read about Spiritual Direction, click on:

To read about “Oblates”— anyone who wants to be monkish without living in the monastery— click on:

9:57 AM  

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