Saturday I went on another bus trip (I am beginning to like bus trips) to Holy Hill in southeastern WI. Holy Hill contains a Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, and covers 435 acres of quiet and peaceful wooded lands. It is the highest point in the Kettle Moraine district of southern WI . No matter what Christian denomination you are it's a beautiful place to rest, meditate, pray, or just relax. One can walk the grounds, go on a picnic, attend services, or whatever your body and soul needs.
Historians are not sure who first mapped out the area, but the first known resident was a hermit.
Francois Soubrio, a native of France, was known as the hermit of Holy Hill. A local farmer discovered his presence sometime between 1862 and 1864.' After a time of mutual suspicion between Soubrio and the area farmers, a friendship developed as the result of growing openness between them. The farmers then began to assist Soubrio by giving him food and other necessities. Eventually they banded together to build a small cabin for him.There are two accounts about Soubrio's mysterious presence at Holy Hill. In the older account (1889), a narrative written about Holy Hill by W. A. Armstrong, the hermit is said to have come in penance for the murder of someone he loved. o" Armstrong's narrative also says that the hermit was miraculously healed of a partial paralysis after spending the night in prayer on the hill's summit. In J. M. LeCount's history of Holy Hill he is described as a religious eccentric. Although the accounts differ in their opinion of Soubrio's personality, both accounts agree that he was a man of great inner pain who sought comfort in God.Before coming to Holy Hill, Soubrio traveled extensively. His travels eventually brought him to Quebec, Canada, where he worked as an assistant to a retired professor. While working in the professor's library, Soubrio found an old French diary and a parchment map (dated 1676). The map showed the Wisconsin - Lake Michigan area and the route used to reach a very high cone-shaped hill in southeastern Wisconsin. Soubrio's attention was drawn to the entry in which the author described his journey to the hill's summit where he erected a stone altar, raised a cross (margin notes on the map indicated a cross) and dedicated the place in the name of Mary as holy ground forever. Studying these documents created a deep longing within Soubrio to come to the holy site. Many assumed the documents belonged to Fr. Jacques Marquette.
We had a beautiful autumn day for our trip to the area. The leaves are just starting to turn. I imagine the view is breathtaking when the leaves are in full color.
There were many interesting vendors to peruse.
My one regret was that I didn't get to see the basilica.
Two of the outdoor shrines.
I climbed all 178 steps to the top of the tower. I was afraid I'd be 'half dead' after my feat, but I was just fine. Although several rest stops were taken along the way. Some stairways were narrow....
The spiral stairway is the last one to the top, I don't care for spiral stairways.
The view from one of the windows at the top.
Milwaukee can be seen in the distance...but not in my photos.
View of the parking lot and craft fair below.
See me? waving from right below the peak? OK, I didn't get that photo, but that's where I was....192' from ground level.
We didn't buy the t-shirts but posed with them.
Pressed real flowers make lovely pictures.
12" x 12" magnet frames....so cute!
Decorated Styrofoam heads.......Who thinks of this stuff? I love 'em.
A friend of mine made pins from antique buttons once, but wasn't able to sell them. This display made me think of her.
I'm obsessed with these 'sweater' flower pins and want to try to make one.
I purchased a fiber art pin and a 'scarf' - made from yarn, just many long pieces of yarn and fabric, sort of a cross between a scarf and necklace (my description). On the end was a covered drapery ring (my guess) that you just looped the scarf through.
Told ya I was going to get to as many festivals as I could!!!