2016-06-30
After our story on sacred power spots around the world, we asked you, the readers, to tell us about the places that have transformed you by their very presence. The responses, from the esoteric to the biblical, the mundane to the sublime, all speak to that inexplicable sense of spiritual there-ness and magic that imbues certain places—born from history, geography, or a touch from beyond.

What you said:
A ‘Mini-Lourdes’ in North Wales
A Spiritual Shack in the Woods
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A Hill Near the Hand of God
The World as a Sacred Spot
Singing on the Sea of Galilee
Civil War Site is Weeping Ground
The U.S.—a ‘Biblical Promise Land’
Gratitude in Cambodia

A Mini-Lourdes in North Wales
We don’t have to travel very far to reach our sacred site–it's just across the road, in fact

We own a field in North Wales, UK, where in 1997 an Irish couple on a walking holiday claim to have seen the Virgin Mary and were subsequently healed of their ailments.


By June that year our quiet country lane resembled a mini Lourdes as pilgrims came to visit the site. From time to time others will claim that they have received healing of mind, body and spirit.

Even a photo of the field sent over the Internet is supposed to have made two recipients feel better. We allow people to stand and meditate at the gate; we don't charge and only ask that people respect the peace of their surroundings.

–Rose-Mary Gower

A Spiritual Shack in the Woods
I moved to an old farm in the summer of 1992. As I was walking the property, I found an old shack in the woods two stories high, but very, very small—full of remnants left behind by the previous owner of the farm. I found an old wood stove as well as numerous forged nails.

When I spoke with that previous owner, he explained to me that an elderly man he knew told him that two people were buried in the woods near my driveway, in the early 1900's. Whoever lived in the old shack made a stepping-stone path down to the creek, directly behind the structure. Everyone who saw the building wanted to go in and look around.

I was concerned about safety, therefore, I hired two men to dismantle it and haul it to the dump. After the old shack was gone, I found that upon visiting the area, I had the strangest feeling of comfort. Every time I visited the area, I felt closer to the Lord, closer to nature, and such a feeling of calmness. Walking down the stone and slate steps to the water made me feel that whoever lived there lived happily.

I often walk over there and say a prayer; it relaxes my mind and spirit. There is such a spiritual feeling and uplifting sense of calmness and joy.

–Cricket

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
In 1968 I flew to Washington, D.C., to meet my future in-laws. It was my first plane trip, and I went alone. I got in about 10 p.m. and it took another hour to drive to my future in-laws' home in Virginia. In the coming days I had the opportunity to visit the Capital, the White House, Pentagon, the Jefferson, Washington, and Lincoln memorials, as well as the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy. Also, I visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Constitution Hall, the National Archives, the Curtis-Lee Mansion, and the National Cathedral. Of all these wonderful, historic sites the one that inspired me most was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. When I stood next to that great monument, I had the most awesome feeling that I knew who was in that tomb.

I believe there were angels all around guarding that soldier. It was so touching and yet so reverent. I have never forgotten that feeling of spirit reaching out. That one monument inspired me to never take anything for granted. (I lost a brother a year later.) It inspired me to be happy no matter what the circumstance, and it inspired me to be more grateful for our servicemen and the freedom they give us.

The inspiration the Lord laid on me that day is still with me, and I am most grateful to Him for watching over us and giving us a beautiful country (which we have almost destroyed), and I pray every day that our leaders will appreciate what we have and enter into His house with thanksgiving.

–Mike Moss

A Hill Near the Hand of God
In St. Anne, Quebec, Canada, is St. Anne De Beaupre Basilica. The village of St. Anne is built around her, bordered by the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding hills and mountains.

The Redemptorists and Franciscans maintain a friary and mother house, respectively. At one time there was also an Augustine convent there. On the hillside connecting the convents to the basilica grounds, there is a life-sized Stations of the Cross. At the top of the hill, a small grassy knoll is beneath a huge tree. Sitting there at sunrise, the air is pierced with the faint sounds of morning prayer and song; the river reflects the sun with a million diamonds along its surface and nature begins to awaken.

The sky is expansive and the air is cool and envelops you in a serene sense of being one with creation. If the breeze is right, you can faintly detect the odor of incense from the basilica. Below your feet is the Passion of the Lord in true-life replication. At that moment, you sense that you can outstretch your fingers heavenward and touch the Hand of God.

When my life has faced its most difficult challenges and I have found myself in need of healing, I have gone to this place and returned renewed and blessed. Truly, this is a sacred place.

–E. Torode

What you said:
A ‘Mini-Lourdes’ in North Wales
A Spiritual Shack in the Woods
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A Hill Near the Hand of God
The World as a Sacred Spot
Singing on the Sea of Galilee
Civil War Site is Weeping Ground
The US—a ‘Biblical Promise Land’
Gratitude in Cambodia

The World is Her Sacred Place
When I graduated from college in 1969, I was very fortunate in that my mother, a phenomenal woman and traveler, arranged for me and my sister Lynette to accompany her on a wonderful trip to Europe and the Middle East. The first country we journeyed to was Portugal; coming from New York City at the time, I marveled at the cleanliness of the City of Lisbon.

At 6 a.m., when we got up to travel to the Costa do Sol, people were already cleaning streets and washing windows. Residents saw it as a sacred place… a place to be cherished. In Madrid and Toledo, Spain we saw paintings by Spanish masters like Goya and Velazquez. In Rome, I felt the presence of the many that had died and lived defending their beliefs. When we reached Israel, again it was clear that I was in a sacred place where many of the people I had read about in Sunday school had actually lived—Moses and Abraham, Ruth and Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, John and Mary, Mathew, Mark, Luke the physician, and Jesus. We traveled all over the country, first up north in Haifa, then Jaffa. We went to Golan Heights, part of Syria, to the mouth of the Jordan River. Like the spiritual, the cold river "chills the body, but not the soul." Mommy baptized herself in the Jordan because it's where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. In Jerusalem, my sister and I walked the streets, singing, “Where Jesus Walked.” And we visited many sacred spots there including the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall, and the last standing wall of King Solomon’s Temple. I placed a prayer note there.


Finally, we went to Bethlehem and Nazareth, saw the Dead Sea, and then visited Tel Aviv, where I swam in the Mediterranean Sea and bought earrings made by a Yemenite woman.

–Sherry Tucker Brown

Singing on the Sea of Galilee
The day I got on a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee, there were many other visitors to Israel from all over the world. People began singing and it was such a familiar song that nearly everyone joined in no matter the language they spoke. It was a beautiful time of exciting bonding.

Then, as the English-speaking person, I was asked to read the portion of the Bible about Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee with his disciples. Each language took their turn; I read last. Just as I was finishing, what had been very calm, glassy water turned choppy and strong wind suddenly came up. It must have been unusual because our Israeli guide who had taken this journey many times became quite ill with motion sickness.

I personally tend to have a very light stomach, but it was like Jesus was on that boat with us and I was not only calm, but felt so blessed for this unique experience. We reached the other side, where Jesus fed the thousands with five loaves and two fishes. We sat on the hill watching the Sea of Galilee calm once again.

I had seen exactly what Jesus' disciples were so afraid of—the wind and choppy sea. Once it was calm, I could more clearly see Him walking on water.

–Marcia Crew

 

What you said:
A ‘Mini-Lourdes’ in North Wales
A Spiritual Shack in the Woods
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A Hill Near the Hand of God
The World as a Sacred Spot
Singing on the Sea of Galilee
Civil War Site is Weeping Ground
The US—a ‘Biblical Promise Land’
Gratitude in Cambodia

Civil War Site is Weeping Ground
I stood on what is called sacred ground on Flank Road, in Fredericksburg, Va. I was told by a Civil War historian that on the very spot that I was standing people claim to hear screams of the soldiers who died in this bloody battle once a year on its anniversary.

His words didn’t affect me; it was a beautiful, sunny day and the story wasn’t believable to me. However, as I walked among the trees and noticed the still apparent trenches around the field, I bent down and touched the ground and said a prayer for those whose bones had never been unearthed.

The grass was dry when I placed my hand upon it, and when I removed it from the place I had rested it to pray the grass appeared dewy—for about a foot around the area—as if tears had welled up from the ground.

Perhaps those spirits don’t rest as they should, maybe they do wail, still crying out in thankfulness for being tenderly remembered.

–Pam Malafronte

The U.S.—a ‘Biblical Promise Land’
In the 1950's and 60's I was in the Air Force, stationed in Okinawa and later in Korea. I had my most life-changing time in Korea; in 1957 in Okinawa, my religious experience began.

People in this country cannot believe that people actually live the way they do although they see it on television. We have such a high standard of living (even at the lowest levels) that we find it inconceivable. I have never returned to those places but I have often had reflective moments of the people there living in pole houses (one room) on the edge of a rice paddy.

They rise at sun-up, have a bowl of rice and tea, and climb down to work all day in the paddy. The lucky ones had an ox to pull the plows but most often the humans were the ox. Pregnant women worked until they give birth and strapped the new born on their backs and continued working.

Ever since, I have believed the United States to be the biblical Promised Land.

–"WILPOPS"

Gratitude in Cambodia
There are some moments that break your heart open a breath wider. That is what happened when I visited Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

I saw spectacular sites, but more deeply, I came to see the beauty, grace, and generosity of Cambodia and its people. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Asia and its history is scarred with many bitter struggles up to the recent genocide of Pol Pot’s regime. We held out U.S. bills to give the poverty-stricken children.

As we gave bills to them, what struck me was not one child ever took anything… they didn’t try to grab and snatch. Before they took what was offered, every single child would put their hands together in prayer, in namaste, and say, "I wish for you a happy life."

This wish came from the depths and souls of children who have nothing, not even shoes, wishing for you happiness, long life, success in your business, comfort in your home.

–Cora Wen

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