Flocking to the cross.

Followers Urge Cross In The Woods To Change Name

The Cross In The Woods Shrine in Indian River, MI may have its name changed to "Shrine of the Lily of the Mohawks, Kateri Tekakwitha," if certain faithful champions of the local "non-denominational" Catholic attraction have their way.

79-year-old Chet Adams had a deathbed vision several years ago, when Kateri Tekakwitha appeared to him, and told him that he wasn't going to die just yet, but that he should get to work getting the Shrine named for her. The Cross was, in fact, built in her honor more than fifty years ago. And the Shrine's founder, Monsignor Charles Brophy, agrees with Adams.

But the current head Catholics in charge don't want to change the name for fear of alienating non-Catholic tourists. The Shrine's centerpiece -- a fifty-five foot tall crucifix with a thirty-one-foot tall Jesus -- is not the world's largest (A sixty-foot crucifix in Bardstown, KY takes that honor), but is impressive nonetheless. It is advertised on freeway billboards. "If we nailed it down to Kateri, it would have a lot of people in bewilderment and they might think this is not a place for them to stop," said Reverend Donard Paulus.

"[The administrators] all have good intentions," Adams said. "We're all Christians, of course, and everyone has his own view."

Kateri Tekakwitha was a Mohawk in upstate New York, and after surviving a smallpox outbreak that killed the rest of her family, became a fervent Catholic. She performed "extraordinary penances" and built crude crosses where her people could worship outdoors.

Adams has championed her sainthood since he and his wife viewed her remains on their honeymoon in 1939. The remains have since been buried in New York. Kateri was beatified in 1980, the second stage toward sainthood. At that level of holiness, a shrine can be named in her memory.

200,000 people visit the Cross In The Woods Shrine complex each year, which also contains the World's Largest Nun Doll Museum and the All Faiths Gift Shoppe.

[07/13/1997]
Address:
7078 M-68, Indian River, MI
Directions:
I-75 to exit 310 (Indian River). Follow Hwy 68 west, and make a right where it separates from Hwy 27. The Cross in the Woods Shrine will be on your right.
Hours:
Open 24/7; Gift Shop daily 9 am - 8 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
231-238-8973
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Major Fun
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