One of Grandma’s most favorite spots in the whole world is Holy Hill. Probably one of the most beautiful Catholic Churches I’ve ever seen – with the exception of St. Patricks Cathedral in NY. But even St. Patrick’s doesn’t have the location that Holy Hill does. Not only is it a gorgeous church – but it is set right into the hills, woods and beautiful terrain of Wisconsin
I visited Holy Hill today. Not because I’m a religious person. Not because I wanted to pray or walk with god or any such thing. I went there because it made me feel close to Grandma. She was a religious person – very devout Catholic Irish. Going there today made me feel closer. And yes, I even entered the chapel portion of the church. Along side the rows of pews they have rows and rows of candles that line the walls of the church. Some of them are lit, some of them aren’t.
I was born and baptized Catholic. I was raised in the Catholic Church and attended Catholic schools almost my whole life – with the exception of 4th grade and high school. As an adult, I have walked away from it all because I don’t find the logic in it all. Most especially the Catholic Church. The doom and gloom of it all – – the guilt, penance and self-persecution, to name just a few. That and the fact that I believe the Catholic Church stands more about money and power than it does about faith and religion. Their god is not one that I have found to be something that I place my faith in. My prayers go to the people, friends, loved ones, family who have gone before me – not to some omnipotent higher deity that I have yet to find reason to believe in. But that’s just me. Grandma is a different story. She was a believer – and I fully respect that.
So to Holy Hill I went. I made the hike up the long hill to the entrance at the base of the church – took the elevator up to the fourth level. Walked out onto the outside walkway that connects the main building to the church and stopped for a moment and looked out over the trees below. On that walkway at Holy Hill – – you can see for miles and miles and miles. And the silence up there is really amazing. I entered the church….bypassed the basin of holy water at the door and did not bother to cross myself upon entering and making my way up the aisle. I walked over to the candles and lit one single white one for her. That would have meant something to her – – actually, that would have meant quite a lot to her. That is why I did it.