Juneau, Alaska, Oct 5, 2016 / 04:41 am America/Denver (CNA).
Adding to the more than 70 national shrines in the United States, the St. Therese Shrine in Juneau, Alaska was added by the U.S. bishops to the national list on her Oct. 1 feast day this year.
“We are pleased to have the Conference of Bishops recognize the Shrine of St. Therese as a National Shrine,” stated Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, Alaska after the official announcement.
“The shrine is a place of tremendous spiritual and natural beauty for all who visit, and we are happy the Bishops have confirmed what so many shrine visitors have felt in their hearts – that the National Shrine of St. Therese, Juneau, is a gift from God and a treasure to all who pilgrim to her shore,” he continued.
The Shrine of St. Therese started in the 1930s from the inspiration of Jesuit priest Fr. William G. LeVasseur, who wanted to dedicate a holy place where individuals could grow in their devotion to God, while bringing people closer to “the true source of life.”
After approval from then-Bishop of Alaska Joseph Crimont, Fr. LeVasseur obtained land from the U.S. government, and in 1933, the retreat house at the shrine was under construction. In 1935, the chapel broke ground, with the first Mass taking place in 1941.