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Shrine to the Holy Family in Foristell was established 10 years ago as a space for families and people of all ages to pray and meditate on their lives.
Shrine to the Holy Family in Foristell was established 10 years ago as a space for families and people of all ages to pray and meditate on their lives.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston

Shrine to the Holy Family marks 10th anniversary with special celebration Oct. 10

Outdoor shrine in Foristell draws attention to model of the Holy Family

The Holy Family is a model for all Christian families in virtue, family life and Christian love.

Their example is the premise and mission of the Shrine to the Holy Family, established 10 years ago in Foristell as a space for families and people of all ages to pray and meditate on their lives.

A celebration marking the shrine’s 10th anniversary will take place Saturday. Oct. 10.

The focal point of the shrine is a freestanding sculpture of the Holy Family created by local artist Cynthia Hitschler. Cast in bronze and weighing more than 800 pounds, the sculpture is located in the center of the shrine and can be viewed from every direction and easily touched. The life-size sculpture portrays Jesus, Mary and Joseph as they may have appeared in ordinary life: Jesus, a young boy of nine or ten; Mary, a young mother working in her home; and Joseph, a strong man in the prime of his life returning from a day’s work.

The shrine was the vision of a group of Catholics involved in Opus Dei, who later formed the Cedar Lake Foundation. The late Ray and Eleanor Meier donated 30 acres of land to the effort. Eleanor was involved in Opus Dei; her daughter, Marcia Hellmuth, also a member of Opus Dei, had heard someone at a conference years ago talking about how founder St. Josemaria Escriva had a dream to see the establishment of a shrine to the Holy Family in the middle of the United States someday. Hellmuth, who inherited adjacent property when her parents died, donated another 7-plus acres to the effort.

Hellmuth, a member of Ascension Parish in Chesterfield, noted that the shrine attracts Catholics and nonCatholics alike. “I see guys bringing their guitars, girls writing poetry,” she said. “Wedding parties have their pictures taken there.”

The shrine is a place “to reflect on their lives and how they lived their lives on Earth, and how we can imitate them,” she said. “God brought difficult times into their lives, like the flight into Egypt, and losing (Jesus) in Jerusalem. And they had fun, too. Just like them, we should strive to do the best work we can in our own lives.”

The Cedar Lake Foundation is advancing a second phase to build a conference center. The foundation recently started a feasibility study to build plans for an eventual $10 million capital campaign. The conference center is anticipated to host a variety of activities to help form Catholics, and in turn, strengthen family life, one of the key goals of the foundation.

The facility will accommodate daytime activities until private rooms can be added. When completed, the conference center will have a chapel, kitchen and dining facilities, living room, library, classroom and overnight accommodations, with space for 35 bedrooms.


>> Holy Family Shrine 10th anniversary celebration

WHAT: Shrine to the Holy Family

WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 10; the Rosary will be prayed, along with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Father Thomas Molini of Ascension Parish in Chesterfield, will give a homily. A picnic reception will be held afterward.

WHERE: 1500 Highway W in Foristell, five miles from Interstate 64/Highway 40

MORE INFO: Call (636) 778-9471 or visit cedarlakefoundation.org.


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