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Mariam Shrine.

Giant Mary and Toddler Jesus

Field review by the editors.

El Cajon, California

Like most properly designed Virgin Mary shrines, this facility is quiet and welcoming, with easy parking and multiple paths into the property. We popped in on a weekend morning, when workers were busy tending to the grounds and setting up chairs for a large event.

Mary and Toddler Jesus.

The Mariam Mother of Life Shrine was completed in 2003 by St. Ephrem Maronite Catholic Church, a local Lebanese parish. The giant Madonna statue stands atop a circular brick mound, featuring a grotto that houses the altar and a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A ramp winds up the side of the mound, engraved Stations of the Cross ("The Mysteries") spaced along the way.

Towering Mary, carved from Lebanese stone, holds a young Jesus, who gazes down upon us -- on close inspection he's more of a toddler than an infant. The sculpture is by a Lebanese artist, and the shrine is said to be in the tradition of Catholic shrines in Lebanon. At its base are many flowers and offerings.

The Mariam Mother of Life Gift Shop and Visitor Center was closed, so we couldn't determine if it is a retired aspect of the attraction or something that opens seasonally.

Giant Mary and Toddler Jesus

St. Ephrem Marionite Catholic Church

750 Medford St., El Cajon, CA
Pull into the parking lot and bear left. Statue is at the back end of the lot.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

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In the region:
Hand-Painted Rock Garden, Encinitas, CA - 24 mi.

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