26th November : Our Lady Of The Mountains

Our Lady Of The Mountains

Country : Italy

Year : 1500

In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, at the foot of Mount Washington, there is a new shrine of our Lady which is becoming better known year by year.  It is called the Shrine of Our Lady of the Mountains.

The church itself was built in 1904 and dedicated to our Lady under this beautiful title.  It is situated on Route 302 at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, across the highway from Mount Washington Hotel.  During the early part of the twentieth century there were many summer hotels in this area; and the church accommodated the guests and the employees who were very numerous in those days during the summer.  As many as nine scheduled Masses were offered up in the church on Sundays.

When Father John Feeney was appointed pastor in 1949, of this church, as well as those in Whitefield and Twin Mountain, the church had only one Mass on Sundays and was deserted on weekdays; because all the hotels and Mount Washington Hotel, were gone.  But why should it not become the Shrine of Our Lady of the Mountains?  That was Father Feeney’s happy thought and ardent desire.  If only he could obtain a suitable painting of Our Lady!  Then Our Lady of the Mountains would be loved and honored by the thousands of motorists who passed by in their cars.

The priest’s dream was realized in 1952, when doctor Eugene Markush, president of the Pharma-Chemical Corporation of New York City, donated a precious modern painting of Our Lady and her Divine Child, as a memorial for his wife, Stella Maria, who had died the year before.  The artist who painted the picture was Stella Maria’s brother, the famous Hungarian painter Bella Szemerel.  Born in 1904, he had graduated from the Vienna Royal Academy and won a fellowship for further study of the masters of Rome.  He had done many excellent portraits of members of royal families and other dignitaries in Europe; and now he was living in the United States, a refugee from the Communists.  This image of Mary was a thank-offering to the Mother of God.