These days, everywhere I go I look for the most beautiful things, the butterflies! Whenever I see one I try to stalk it! Usually this leads me to the other ones and the most beautiful flowers. If a special butterfly garden exists in any town or city I visit, I always make the effort to visit. The beauty of these magnificent insects manifests in their colors. There appears to be some grace and skill in their flight; some appear erratic while some appear to have a pattern to their direction of flight. Some are slow while others show some energy and speed. Some keep coming back to the same spot and flower, perhaps this spot or flower offers something they want or need! Others stay briefly on a flower and move on appearing to be directionless. Yet, some make brief stops at different stations perhaps looking for something that they can not quite find. I observe some staying permanently on the spot; tired, sick, resigned to fate or have found a permanent abode? Some share feeding stations, each taking what it needs. In trying to escape the cold weather some alter their physical attributes to cope with the flight over thousands of miles to nest and survive the harsh conditions in a more comfortable environment only to come back when they think conditions are favorable in their old home! To me, all these behaviors serve as metaphor for life. Our life!
The Holy Family Shrine is a Catholic shrine dedicated to the Holy Family. It is located along highway I - 80 in Gretna Nebraska, about 15 minutes by road outside Omaha city limit. It is located on an expanse rolling field and consists of a visitor center and a chapel in a serene setting. The chapel is readily visible from the highway below.
It also has a grotto of the Virgin Mary. A huge crucifix spire directly faces the highway.
Recently some additional construction, although incomplete at the time of my last visit, is been done to include a walkway and Stations of the Cross on the North end of the property. The new walkway through surrounding field should provide plenty of space to wander and reflect. There were lots of butterflies this past summer around the structures. That should excite butterfly lovers to visit this serene place.
It is generally very quiet and peaceful when there is sparse number of visitors or when you are lucky to be the lone visitor. There is a gift shop in the visitor center. There was no admission fee at the times I visited in the past but donations and patronage of the gift items in the visitor center are welcome.
I visited on weekends spending a few minutes to an hour about once or twice in the year. I often took my visitors from out of town to the shrine. It is a place of solace when you are looking for specific answers to specific questions.
I have included photos taken both in the summer and fall, so you could choose when to visit!
More information about the project and site is available on the ‘holyfamilyshrineproject.com’.