Embracing a Healthy Family: Hidden Gems Along the Way: Seven Dolors Shrine in South Haven, Indiana

Hidden Gems Along the Way: Seven Dolors Shrine in South Haven, Indiana

We are a family that likes to go on road trips both far and close to find those little things that just really surprise you. There are so many hidden gems if you take the time to look.  I'm an avid fan of history and can't pass up something unique or old. This last stop is a place formerly known as the Seven Dolors Shrine in South Haven, Indiana.  Some structures were built in the 1930s and the remnants of the Seven Dolors are at risk of ruin due to vandalism, neglect and a partial land sell off to builders.  

Seven Dolors was founded in the 1930s by Franciscan Friars. Among several buildings, the Friars constructed a main grotto called the Lourdes grotto, the St. Francis Altar, the 14 Stations of the Cross and various buildings. People use to take pilgrimages to the shrine and worship and to pay their respects to the Sorrowful Mother for whom the grounds were dedicated. In 1996, the Friars left the grounds and some of the original 160 acres were given to the parish while the remaining land was sold to developers.

What remains were the Lourdes Grotto and the outdoor altar.

In 2007, vandals stole one of two figures of angels that stood on either side of the statue of St. Francis embracing Christ at the outdoor altar. During the Thanksgiving week of 2007, the other angel was stolen. When we visited the first time, the doors of the Lourdes Grotto appeared to have been kicked in while someone might have been sleeping in it. The doorway is surrounded by an iron gate and the last time we visited, the doors were locked shut. It looks like a cave and is really a wonder to see. 

I hope that the church or the community bands together to save this piece of unique history as it is beautiful along with the wooded lands that surround it. There is a nice walking bridge that is picture perfect as it connects the church grounds to the partial ruins.

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Anne said...

I had no idea this existed and I'm so glad you posted about your visit! It's beautiful and historic!