Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Featured Works: Hanceville - Alabama - United States
Main altarpiece
Lateral altarpieces
Way of the Cross
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The Shrine

of the Most Blessed Sacrament, which would become one of the most important pilgrimage centers of the United States, was consecrated in 1999. Mother Angelica, the charismatic American nun, who also founded the Catholic Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), set herself the task of building this church. Building’s architecture is inspired by the Italian Romanesque style, in particular the St. Francis Basilica of Assisi. The church is surrounded by a complex of buildings dedicated to the Divine Child, including the Our Lady of the Angels Monastery of the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration. The interior of the church was entirely designed and furnished by GRANDA. Given its magnificence and solemnity, it has a profound impact on worshippers and pilgrims who visit it. Dedicated to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the design and iconography of the interior revolve around the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

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Since this

is a pilgrimage center, which receives a massive influx of visitors, it has a good number of confessionals. They are large in size and they also recreate the Gothic style, though finished in darkened wood. As a result, even if they are aesthetically related to the altar and the interior decoration, they do not take center stage.

A large neo-Gothic altarpiece,

made of wood and completely gilded, floods the senses of worshippers. A magnificent 7.5 foot monstrance, where the Blessed Sacrament is placed, is located in the most prominent position towards the summit of the altarpiece. The monstrance is visible both from the central nave and from the cloister because the main altarpiece is two-sided. The nuns take turns in perpetual adoration and the monstrance is always exposed on their side. In the center of the altarpiece and below the monstrance is a large golden tabernacle crafted in a style of Gothic architecture, reminiscent of the great European cathedrals. Made of different types of marble, the altar is decorated on the front with the Christian symbol of the Holy Pelican.

Altarpiece Shrine of the monst blessed Sacrament
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The lateral altarpieces

reproduce the architecture through arches, batons, and pinnacles of the main altarpiece, recreating a refined Gothic style. One of them is dedicated to the Miraculous Virgin, and the other to the Divine Child, in line with the iconography of this dedication in Colombia. Devotion to the Divine Child is deeply rooted in Colombia, and has a deep meaning in this church; it was before that image in Bogotá where Mother Angelica received divine inspiration to build the Shrine. Confessionals

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The Way of the Cross

consists of a set of vivid polychrome reliefs, in the form of a tondo, framed in a gilded square frame and topped with a cross. These frames echo shape of the frames used on the scenes of the church doors. In line with their style and inspiration, the reliefs follow a classical realistic style, evoking the restrained and solemn Renaissance art.

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made the entirety of the liturgical trousseau, including both gold and silverware pieces and textile elements such as linens and vestments for the priests. The most prominent piece is the monstrance, which is 7.5 feet tall and with a prominent sunburst luna frame. The large tabernacle is inspired by the Medieval Eucharistic caskets, although its shape emulates later Gothic cathedrals. Its golden architecture reproduces details of the altarpiece in the center of which it is installed, thus drawing a beautiful parallel between the church and the tabernacle as a church and the house of God, a traditional going back to the typological stories of the Old Testament. The central pinnacle echoes the monstrance, surrounded by adoring angels, as in the altarpiece. The chalice and ciborium set are a custom design that also reproduce Gothic decorative motifs, enriched with enamels depicting the magnificent monstrance and the Divine Child.

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On the other side

From the altarpiece, from the cloister, there is another, simpler altarpiece attached to the back, which is where the nuns attend services. The huge monstrance is the main element of the ensemble and is also visible from the altarpiece, allowing the Poor Clare nuns to honour the Blessed Sacrament in perpetual adoration. As in the main altarpiece, under the monstrance there is a tabernacle, of turriform form and Gothic architecture, with a large enamel painting on the door.

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The crypt

The crypt is used for the burial of the cloistered nuns of the order and contains the mortal remains of Mother Angelica, as well as a small chapel. The architecture and the gilded wooden altarpiece in the crypt chapel are neo-Gothic. The altar and the communion rail are made of marble. In two niches are the images of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare, patron saints of the Order. On a marble backdrop Framed in a sober green colour is an image of Christ Crucified. On the way to the crypt, the nuns pass a monumental monochrome relief of the Crucifixion with the buildings of Jerusalem in the background.

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GRANDA was commissioned to design the large square in front of the church and the entrance gates. At the centre of the square, a special statue of welcome of the Infant Jesus with the Sacred Heart in his hand for the good of the pilgrims.

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The huge

The bronze doors of the church parallel those of the famous doors of the Baptistery in Florence. They depict scenes framed in quatrefoils, like the first two doors of the Baptistery, the work of Andrea Pisano and Lorenzo Ghiberti (15th and 15th centuries).XIV and XV). The scenes on the doors represent the themes of the Seven Joys and the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin in a classical style.

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Are you interested in this project?

At Granda we seek to encourage devotion. Personalizing each piece and giving unity to all the elements helps to inculturation, to transmit the message and to move the devotion of the faithful.

If you are interested in restoring a piece, creating new ones or carrying out an integral project, fill in the form indicating your preferences and we will call you within 48 hours.

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    28806, Alcalá de Henares,
    Madrid. Spain
    (+34) 91 802 36 55

    Serving the Church with sacred art since 1891

    Serving the Church with sacred art since 1891

    C/ Galileo Galilei, 19.
    28806, Alcalá de Henares,
    Madrid. Spain
    (+34) 91 802 36 55

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