Exploring The Shrine of Our Lady of the SnowsJuly 6, 2021
Here at The Esquiline, we often encounter surprise from guests and potential residents who learn that we are located on the grounds of the Our Lady of the Snows Shrine. Many visitors come to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows regularly and don’t realize just how many gardens, sites, event spaces, and yes – even a senior community! – are located here.
While The Esquiline itself may remain limited to essential visitors, the Shrine grounds remain open and accessible.
Let’s take a look at some of the lovely features that can be enjoyed and explored on our unique grounds, courtesy of snows.org.
Restaurant and Gift Shop
The Shrine Restaurant & Banquet Center is known throughout the region for providing incredible meals and warm and wonderful hospitality. Enjoy a wide selection of culinary delights, including award-winning Sunday Brunch Buffets.
Pilgrims to the shrine can support the work of the Missionary Oblates in their service to the poor by purchasing items from the gift shop including jewelry, rosaries, crucifixes, statues, bibles, prayers books, and more.
Children’s Memorial Playground
This expansive, two-acre playground debuted on the Shrine grounds in 2002. It offers a spiritually-themed recreation area for children of all ages. The rubberized walking surface that circles the playground depicts the seven days of creation, and the entrance features a life-sized sculpture of Jesus. Many pilgrims find that the creation garden offers an opportunity for parents and grandparents to impart religious teachings to children as they play.
Main Shrine and Amphitheater
Sitting at the base of a natural outdoor amphitheater is the Main Shrine, which offers both permanent seating and grassy open seating areas that can accommodate several thousand people.
Church of Our Lady of the Snows
While the Main Shrine offers a lovely outdoor gathering space, the need for an indoor worshiping space was not completed until 1990. The Church of Our Lady of the Snows offers pilgrims the opportunity to gather indoors.
Sites that Inspire
Fathers Memorial Wall
The Fathers Memorial Wall honors Joseph the Carpenter and all fathers of faith. Built in 1985, it is located near the Mothers Prayer Walk and has bronze memorials placed at the walkway entrance.
The Lourdes Grotto is a replica of the Lourdes Grotto in Lourdes, France where Our Lady first appeared in 1858. This was one of the first devotional sites on the grounds and has been beautifully landscaped, including mature trees and shrubs and fragrant flowers. It features a secluded altar for Masses and devotional services.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Hill
Dedicated in 2005, this site honors the Blessed Mother under the title Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is located behind the Annunciation Garden and commemorates the appearance of the Blessed Mother to Juan Diego at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico in 1531.
Way of the Cross
Travelers to the Holy Land have often retraced Christ’s steps through the streets of Jerusalem in the hours leading to his crucifixion. The Shrine’s Way of the Cross encourages pilgrims to engage in this devotional tradition following the 14 Stations of the Cross over a half-mile pathway. Wending through a grove of evergreens and pines, pilgrims are invited to reflect on the journey of Christ, Mary, and others who walked the path to Calvary.
Millenium Spire and Candelarium
This 85-foot tall Millenium Spire was built to commemorate Pope John Paul II’s call for the Great Jubilee 2000, which promised “a new springtime of Christianity.” The spire overlooks the Shrine’s Amphitheater. At its base, thousands of votive candles – representing thousands of prayers – shimmer and sparkle day and night.
Mother’s Prayer Walk
A tribute to mothers, The Mother’s Prayer Walk follows a curved pathway and features bronze plaques that honor mothers. Located next to the Annunciation Garden, it is surrounded by beautiful, fragrant flower gardens.
Places to Stay
The Shrine Guesthouse offers a peaceful night’s sleep on the grounds of the shrine to weary travelers. Pilgrims to the shrine can enjoy staying just steps away from its sacred spaces.
The Esquiline Community
Our senior living community is tucked within the beautiful landscape of the Shrine and has been serving people of all faiths for decades. We offer independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing services, ensuring that residents can stay on the grounds even if their care needs change.
The Annunciation Garden is located on the highest elevation of the shrine grounds, overlooking the Main Shrine, and features sculptures of the Blessed Virgin and the Angel Gabriel. Four large bells within a reflection pool toll each hour to mark the passage of time.
At the end of the Way of the Cross lies the Resurrection Garden. This garden commemorates the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. It features a Resurrection Cave, which resembles a cut geode, revealing a tomb-like vacancy at its heart. Here, a continuously burning flame also burns, a symbol of Christ’s promise of everlasting life.
For pilgrims seeking reflection and solitude, the Agony Garden offers a quiet corner of the Shrine to do just that. A statue of Jesus kneeling in prayer depicts Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane on the evening He was betrayed. Benches surround the statue, offering a place for those who wish to pause and contemplate.
Come Live at the Shrine
If you or a loved one is looking for a senior community located in the heart of such an inspiring location, contact us to learn more about what life is like at The Esquiline.