Groundbreaking and Dedication of New National Shrine of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Set for May 15

The Carmelites of the Most Pure Heart of Mary will break ground on the new National Shrine of St. Thérèse of Lisieux on May 15 at 2 p.m. The groundbreaking and dedication ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. at the Shrine Museum of St. Therese, 8501 Bailey Rd., in Darien. This event is open to the public. The new shrine building has been made possible by a generous donation from the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation.

This ceremony marks the beginning of new construction of the shrine and renovation of the Carmelite Gift Shop and the outside worship space across the 40-acre Carmelite Campus.

Our current small chapel, housed within the National Shrine Museum, seats about 200 and with daily Mass celebrants numbering 250 and special holy days drawing over 700 people, there is a need for a larger worship space.  The new National Shrine will be located just across the walkway from the National Shrine Museum of St. Therese and the Carmelite Gift Shop.

In the new shrine, the main worship area will seat 300 and there will be four additional multi-purpose spaces with movable walls that will expand seating to 700. There will also be a 30-seat reflective prayer chapel with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall to take advantage of the natural surroundings of the Carmelite campus.

A series of pathways will connect all the Carmelite campus buildings and will feature outdoor prayer areas dedicated to Catholic saints.  Some of the prayer areas feature benches to facilitate prayer and spiritual reflection and special niches will allow for the lighting of votive candles.   A new campus entrance will be located on the north side of Frontage Road, allowing visitors to access the campus from that direction.

The project is expected to take 13 months to complete and campus offices and buildings should remain open to the public throughout most of that period.

For more info, please call 800-647-1430.