Chapter I:

To the Lord I cry aloud and He answers me from His Holy Hill

Throughout sacred history, mountains and hills have held great significance as places of encounters with God. To test his faith, Yahweh commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah - a sacrifice Yahweh spared Abraham. On Mt. Horeb, Moses saw a burning bush and from it heard the voice of the Lord. It was there that he received his commission as deliverer of the Hebrew people. Later in sacred history, Moses was called by the Holy Spirit to Mt. Sinai where he received the tablets of testimony (law) written by the finger of God. Mt. Carmel was the site where Elijah was fed by an angel of the Lord. Both Elijah and Moses appeared with the Lord Jesus Christ on a mountain when he was transfigured and glorified before the eyes of Peter, James and John.

The Lord often calls His followers to come to a high place for prayer. Jesus frequently prayed on the Mount of Olives. So it is that many pilgrims, as if to follow in His footsteps, have come to climb the steep path through the woods to the top of Holy Hill. They have come broken in body and broken in spirit. They have cried out to the Lord and he has answered them from His Holy Hill. It is an echo to the psalmist prayer quoted above. It is my testimony and that of the thousands who come here to pray each year.

Healings occur when and wherever the Lord is encountered. Some healings are gradual while others are dramatic and instant. Even before the building of the first log chapel, pilgrims left crutches, leg braces and canes at Holy Hill as witness to answered prayer. This practice continues today by pilgrims who believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has healed them through the powerful intercessory prayer of Mary His mother.

Visitors come to Holy Hill for a variety of reasons. Many ethnic groups continue a tradition of yearly pilgrimages that can be traced to Holy Hill's earliest beginnings. Others come as sightseers or hikers. Families frequently come to participate in Sunday liturgy and remain to picnic on the wooded grounds.

Holy Hill is an easy drive from several urban and suburban areas and yet is very isolated (especially in winter). This makes it an ideal place for a private or group retreat. If making an overnight retreat is not possible, just to come and spend the day at rest in the presence of the Lord can be a very healing experience. One lone pilgrim came to Holy Hill and remained as a hermit for many years. Our history begins with his story.

Chapter II:

The Hermit of Holy Hill

Francois Soubrio, a native of France, was known as the hermit of Holy Hill. A local farmer discovered his presence sometime between 1862 and 1864.' After a time of mutual suspicion between Soubrio and the area farmers, a friendship developed as the result of growing openness between them. The farmers then began to assist Soubrio by giving him food and other necessities. Eventually they banded together to build a small cabin for him.

There are two accounts about Soubrio's mysterious presence at Holy Hill. In the older account (1889), a narrative written about Holy Hill by W. A. Armstrong, the hermit is said to have come in penance for the murder of someone he loved. Armstrong's narrative also says that the hermit was miraculously healed of a partial paralysis after spending the night in prayer on the hill's summit. In J. M. LeCount's history of Holy Hill he is described as a religious eccentric. Although the accounts differ in their opinion of Soubrio's personality, both accounts agree that he was a man of great inner pain who sought comfort in God.

Before coming to Holy Hill, Soubrio traveled extensively. His travels eventually brought him to Quebec, Canada, where he worked as an assistant to a retired professor. While working in the professor's library, Soubrio found an old French diary and a parchment map (dated 1676). The map showed the Wisconsin - Lake Michigan area and the route used to reach a very high cone-shaped hill in southeastern Wisconsin. Soubrio's attention was drawn to the entry in which the author described his journey to the hill's summit where he erected a stone altar, raised a cross (margin notes on the map indicated a cross) and dedicated the place in the name of Mary as holy ground forever. Studying these documents created a deep longing within Soubrio to come to the holy site. Many assumed the documents belonged to Fr. Jacques Marquette.



. Posted in History

 Chapter XIV:

The Main Sanctuary

One of the first sights to a pilgrim's eyes is the beautiful main sanctuary of the upper church. At the center of the sanctuary set against a backdrop of gold, is the main altar. The altar, which took two years to build, has a total weight of more than forty tons. It is supported by three piers each five feet square. The altar proper is sculptured in Tavernelle marble. This marble will acquire a hue similar to old ivory with age. The altar table is a monolith of Botticino marble twelve feet long, three feet wide, and five inches thick. It rests on an antependium of six columns. The five front panels, also of Botticino marble, illustrate ps. 42:1, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, 0 God." The words are engraved in Latin on the outermost panels.
The seven streams flowing from the fountain in the center panel are symbols for the seven sacraments of the church. The lion-headed spouts from which they flow signify their effectiveness in spiritual warfare. The entire fountain with the symbol of Christ above represents the Lord Jesus Christ as the water of life according to Jn. 4:14, "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
These words from the Imitation of Christ, which refer to the Eucharistic Liturgy, are engraved in English on the left side of the altar: "When a priest celebrates, he honors God, he brings joy to the angels, he edifies the church, he helps the living, he obtains rest for the departed, and makes himself partaker of all good things" The words engraved on the right side of the altar, which refer to the celebrant, are from the life of St. Norbert: "What then are you, 0 priest? Nothing and everything. 0 priest take care lest what was said to Christ on the Cross be said to you, 'He saved others, Himself He cannot save"' (Mk. 15:31). These quotations are not visible to the pilgrim.
The crucifix above the top of the altar is on a background of red Verona marble. It is encircled with an outline of gold mosaic. The outline symbolizes Christ's eternal Kingship. The areola of blue, red and gold marble inlay is studded with thirty-three inserts of blue marble that represent the earthly life of Christ. The entire piece is part of the back of the altar (reredos) above the tabernacle.
High above the hand-hammered bronze tabernacle, which weighs 500 pounds, is the triple crown of Christ. The triple crown represents Christ as prophet, priest, and king. It also symbolizes the Chair of Peter and church unity. The crown is supported by four bronze columns that extend over thirteen feet above the altar table. The area between the top of the tabernacle and the base of the triple crown is called the throne. The throne is two and one-half feet square at the base. It represents the city of God. A dove, symbol for the Holy Spirit and wisdom, is set within the throne but directly underneath the triple crown. The double door of the tabernacle features a cross with a wheat and grape design imprint. The cross is over a sunburst background.
The reredos is carved "Floradine" (sic) marble. Eight original compositions of the doctors of the church, along with the coat of arms for their religious orders, are carved into it. A brief description of each follows:
St. Alphonse, a bishop and doctor of the church, was born in Naples in 1696. He is the founder of the Missionary Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. He died at the age of 91 in 1787.
St. Bonaventure, the seraphic doctor of the Order of St. Francis. The saint died while attending the Council of Lyons, and was buried by the assembled bishops in 1274. Sanctity and learning raised him to the church's highest honor.
St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo in Africa and doctor of the Church, was born in 354 at Tagaste in Africa. For thirty-five years he was at the center of ecclesiastical life in Africa and a great fighter against heresy. A prolific writer, he is best known for his theological work The City of God and his Confessions. He died in 430.
St. Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria in 412 and doctor of the church, courageously defended the doctrine of the Incarnation against Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople. (Nestorius denied the two natures of Christ and the Divine Maternity.)
St. Cyril was victorious in 431 when 200 bishops assembled at the Council of Ephesus and deposed Nestorius in the name of Pope Celestine 1. The council declared Mary to be the God-Bearer (Theotokos) and thus confirmed the dual nature of Christ. St. Cyril died in the year 444.
St. Thomas Aquinas was born at Aquino, Italy, in 1226. The title of Angelic Doctor was given to him. It indicates that his writings as philosopher and theologian were inspired. He died on his way to the general council of Lyons in 1274.
St. Bernard, doctor of the church, was born at the Castle of Foun-taines in Burgundy. His works reveal his devotion to the Blessed Virgin. One day while visiting a church at Spire, Germany, he cried out the words that the church added to the Salve Regina: "0 clement! 0 pious! 0 sweet Virgin Mary!" He died in 1153.
St. John of the Cross was born the son of a weaver in Ubeda, Spain. After entering the Order of Carmelites he became the great helper of St. Teresa in the reform of the order. St. John's many works on mystical theology earned him the title Mystical Doctor. John was an artist as well as a writer and man of prayer. He lived a life of penance and died in 1591.
High above the main altar is the beautiful canopy of white Cordova stone. The canopy is more than seventeen feet in width and thirty feet in height. The harmoniously balanced moldings and fillets arch forth to represent the spread of the gospel throughout the world. The architectural masterpiece is crested by two ornamental features bound by an endlessly interwoven line work. This line work represents the eternal plan of salvation. (The design is repeated over the outer entrance to the upper church.)
The canopy is supported by four red Verona marble columns, each quarried from a single piece of marble sixteen feet long. The columns weigh more than two tons a piece. Each is set upon green marble bases. The capitals, also of Cordova stone, are carved with the symbols of the four evangelists. The bases are carved with the names of the Old Testament prophets and priests.
The three panels of the canopy contain the beautiful mosaic, The court of Heaven. The center panel of the mosaic protrays Jesus at the right hand of the Father, with Mary and Joseph below. The outer panels are illustrations of the twelve apostles. This mosaic was designed in Munich, Germany by the Van Treck studios and contains a combination of 90,000 pieces of glass and ceramic.
The beautiful large hand-wrought bronze candle holders in the main sanctuary and the shrine chapel stand over seven feet high. They match the smaller candle holders on the altars, which are about 3 feet high. The communion railing, an artistic piece of forged iron and bronze, harmonizes perfectly with the candle sticks. The communion railing symbolizes the temple vale of the old testament. The railing carries an inscription that acts as encouragement and invitation to every pilgrim who enters the Shrine of Mary - Help of Christians. On the left from the book of Kings, "Elijah (Elias) ate and drank and walked in the strength of that food unto the mount of God," and on the right from Jeremiah, "I have brought you into the land of Carmel to eat its fruit and the best things there of."
The best that Carmel and Holy Hill can offer the pilgrim is a place to be alone with the Lord. A contemplative place of retreat from life's battles where one can be nourished by the bread of life. Take the time to come to Him and be nourished, for as he says, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and He who believes in me will never be thirsty...I am the bread that came down from heaven...Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Jn. 6:33, 35, 41; Mt. 11:28).

. Posted in History

Chapter XII:

Reverence for Mary

Holy Hill is dedicated to Mary's honor under the title Mary - Help of Christians. Many people wonder why the Catholic Church has such great reverence for Mary. The simple reason is that she is the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and since we honor our own mothers, all the more reason to honor His. The Catholic Church, however, carries greater depth of meaning in its Marian tradition. In order to understand why great recognition is given to Mary, we must understand the nature of her Son. Mary's son is the Divine Logos in full humanity. Jesus of Nazareth is the incarnate Word of God - the Word made Flesh. Mary is the Theotokos the God-Bearer. She allowed the Divine Logos to take on human flesh within her body by the power of the Holy Spirit. It was she who brought Jesus into the World (the Incarnation) that He might redeem all mankind. With her Fiat - "let it be", she said yes to God and by this act of faith, enfleshed the Second Person of the Triune God (Lk 1:38). She became the mother of the Second Person of the Trinity who is God not in part but in whole - who is man not in part but in whole. She is justly called the Mother of God because Jesus Christ is Lord and He is her son. She is the God-Bearer because she brings her Son to all humanity (Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431).
In praise to the Lord, throughout time society has attempted to express the eternal love of the Father through the gifted hands of the artist. In keeping with this tradition, Holy Hill is privileged to house two beautiful representations of His love. They are the monstrance titled The Glory of Mary and the shrine statue, Our Lady of Holy Hill.
Designed by Friars Adrian Cooney and Damien Pugh, O.C.D. and Fr. Richard Fale, a diocesan priest, and titled The Glory of Mary, this monstrance is an artistic work of love used to present Mary's son to us in the Blessed Sacrament at Benediction. Through the generosity of many who donated precious stones and metals, and of one who assumed the cost of workmanship, the monstrance is a wealth of Christian symbolism in keeping with the entire shrine.
Within the monstrance, the consecrated host is held in a diamond-set wreath of golden roses and is surrounded by thirty-three simulated rubies signifying the earthly life of Christ. On the outer rim the lettering reads, Ave Verum Corpus Natum De Maria Virgine - Hail, True Body, Born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The main cross design displays the symbols of God the Father (the Blessing Hand); Mary, in her title Mystical Rose (the spray of roses), and St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus and His mother (represented by the sheaf of lilies). A brilliant diamond below the hand of the Father represents the perfection of the Trinity. Rays extending from it represent the flow of Divine Grace through Christ in the Eucharist to the carved-ivory dove (symbol for the Holy Spirit). These rays continue to the statue of Mary to show her privilege in bringing the source of all healing power to the world on which she stands. Her halo of diamonds represents her charisms: the Immaculate Conception (she was exempt from all contamination that is sin), confirmation in grace, divine maternity, perpetual virginity, the miraculous birth of her Son, her holy death, her incorruptibility, the Assumption, the Coronation and her mediation of graces. The base is embellished with a vine design embodying her genealogy, reproducing part of that which is engraved on the front of the Shrine Alter. The inscription on the base of the monstrance reads: "Radix Jesse, Germinans Flosculum", 0 Root of Jesse, Bringing Forth the Flower."
The excellent craftsmanship done by the Szchwarzmann Company of Trier, Germany, and the elegant diamond setting done by Bokoski and Zarder of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, result in a masterpiece of sacred art that will always be a testimony of Mary's glory, her Divine Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Chapter XIII:

The Shrine Statue

The life-size statue of Our Lady of Holy Hill is a beautiful representation of Mary presenting her Son to the world. This masterpiece was made in Munich, Germany and brought to America by the Pustet firm for the Philadelphia World's Fair in 1876. A devout Wisconsin man purchased the statue for Holy Hill but for practical reasons it was first taken to St. Hubert's Parish in Hubertus where it remained for two years. On July 1, 1878, eighteen young barefoot women dressed in white robes with blue ribbons, carried the statue from St. Hubert's in Hubertus seven miles to the log chapel at the top of Holy Hill. The women were escorted by an entourage of 100 men on horseback, many priests and delegates from all over the state. These dedicated pilgrims filled the air with prayers and songs as they processed to their goal.
The ivory colored and gold leaf statue of Our Lady of Holy Hill now stands in the beautiful 40 x 50 foot shrine chapel to the right of the sanctuary in the upper church. Below the base of the statue is an elegant bouquet of hand-beaten bronze roses covered with simulated ruby-studded rosettes strung together by a rope of simulated sapphires. The statue is set against a circular wall of pink-veined Kasota marble.
The chapel altar, also of pink-veined Kasota marble, matches the circular wall behind the statue perfectly. The front of the altar is engraved with the family tree of Jesus according to Matthew's gospel. At the lower left, the figure of Abraham is portrayed as he dreams of his descendents. One of them, King David, is represented by the crown in the center.
Beautiful stained glass windows in the shrine chapel illustrate the Hail, Holy Queen. They arrived from the Van Treeck studios in Munich, Germany via the St. Lawrence Seaway in March of 1958. They were installed at no charge by Matthew Lechner that year.
The original shrine chapel in the present (third) shrine church was smaller than the existing Sacred Heart shrine. Construction for the current shrine chapel was supervised by Fr. Stephen Dzuban. The dedication ceremony took place on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1956 and was presided over by Archbishop Roman R. Atkielski of Milwaukee. The homilist was Bishop William P. Connor of the Madison diocese.
Reverence for Mary is further expressed in the beautiful stained glass windows of the upper church. These windows, also done by the Van Treek studios are pictorial statements of Marian theology.
Of the fourteen high windows portraying Mary's life, the two larger windows illustrate her relationship to the Order. The remaining twelve show her personal life. When facing the main sanctuary the windows at left from the front of the church to the back portray: the birth of Mary with her parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim, and an attending midwife; Mary's presentation in the temple; the traditional scapular vision of St. Simon Stock; the betrothal of Mary and Joseph; the Annunciation; the Visitation and the Nativity. Beginning from the front of the church on the right they portray: her coronation as Queen of Heaven; the Assumption; Mary's appearance to the three Carmelites saying, "Ecce Fratres", Behold Brothers, the Descent of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Family; the flight into Egypt, and the presentation of Jesus in the temple.
The eighteen small windows previously hidden by the confessionals are symbolic illustrations of Mary's charisms. There are ten small windows (five on either side of the church at eye level) that illustrate the sorrowful and glorious mysteries of the rosary.
The beautiful Rose Window above the choir loft gives honor to the Immaculate Conception, national patroness of the United States. The twelve angels from the Apocalypse of St. John surround her. In the center below, Adam and Eve are shown leaving the garden of Eden; the promise of a redeemer is illustrated at left and the announcement of His awaited arrival is on the right.
The windows above the altar are the Lamb of God (at left) and the Pelican with the pierced breast, an early Christian symbol for Christ on the right.
Even before the building of the first log chapel, pilgrims left crutches, leg braces and canes at Holy Hill. Today, this practice is continued by pilgrims who believe that Mary and her son, the Lord Jesus Christ, have healed them through the power of intercessory prayer.

. Posted in History

 Chapter X:

The Discalced Carmelite Friars of Holy Hill

The Discalced Carmelite Friars of Holy Hill belong to the reform order of Carmelites begun by St. Teresa of Jesus (1515 - 1582) and St. John of the Cross (1542 - 1591). Teresa and John worked to establish the reform of the Carmelite order in Spain during the later part of the sixteenth century. This reform resulted in the Discalced Carmelites becoming a separate branch of the Carmelite order. Teresa's goal in the reform was for members of the order to return to the original rule of St. Albert as mitigated by Pope Innocent IV. The ancient Order of Carmelites is designated by the letters "0. Carm." and the Order of Discalced Carmelites by "O.C.D."
The images of Teresa and John are portrayed in mosaics above the two side altars in the upper church. Teresa is represented with the child Jesus in the mosaic above the left side altar. The illustration represents an experience Teresa had of being interrupted by a little boy while at prayer in the courtyard of her cloister. The child asked, "Who are you?" She answered, "I am Teresa of Jesus, and who are you?" The child replied, "I am Jesus of Teresa" and disappeared. St. Teresa of Jesus is also referred to as Teresa of Avila (she was born in Avila, Spain) or the Great St. Teresa. Cannonized in 1614 (her feastday is October 15), she is the first woman to be declared a doctor of the church. This honor was awarded to her on September 27, 1970.
St. John of the Cross was cannonized in 1726; his feastday is December 14. The honor of doctor of the church was given to him in 1926. John is represented in the mosaic above the right side altar. The illustration is from an occasion when John heard the Lord speak to him while looking at a painting of Christ carrying the cross. The Lord asked John what he could do for him and John replied, "All I ask is to suffer and be despised for you." This painting is hanging in the Historical Museum of Segovia Spain.
The Discalced Carmelites came to Holy Hill from Bavaria at the invitation of Archbishop Messmer on June 26, 1906. These first Carmelites were Fathers Eliseus Mackina and Irenaeus Berndi and Brothers Adam Modimayer and Alphonse Merl. The men were officially introduced to the local community by Fr. Bertram on the feast of the Visitation, July 2, 1906. Three more friars, Brothers Andrew and Martin and Fr. Otto, joined the Holy Hill community in September of that year.
The men braved their first Wisconsin winter in a farm house known as the old Whelan home. The conversion from house to friary was complete by December 8, 1907. Hardships were many. The men wanted to leave often, but Br. Adam insisted upon staying. He was convinced that God wanted the Carmelites to remain at Holy Hill. Br. Adam died on October 7, 1916 and was originally buried behind the second shrine. During excavation for the third shirne, his body was moved to the approximate location of his marker, which is near the tenth station just below the current friary parking lot. His actual grave site was covered over during construction of the present friary.
Fr. Kilian Gutmann, then superior of the Discalced Carmelite residence in Fond du Lac, replaced Fr. Eliseus as superior of Holy Hill in October 1906. Fr. Kilian remained as Holy Hill's superior until October 1914. His administration was responsible for digging a 230 foot well near the top of Holy Hill to provide water for the pilgrims. His greatest privilege was to celebrate the Hill's Golden Jubliee (1863 - 1913). Fr. Kilian was succeeded by Fr. Corbinian Penzkofer in April 1914. Fr. Corbinian's office commissioned sculptor Joseph Aszklar of Milwaukee to create the third (present) set of outdoor stations. These are life-size statues of Bedford Stone set in fieldstone grottos. Work on them began about 1918 and was completed in 1928. Fr. Corbinian also supervised construction of the building that is known as the Old Monastery Inn and Retreat Center.
Construction for this monastery (friary) began in 1919; the dedication took place in 1920. It was a novitiate from 1921 until 1943. The position of novice master for the first nine years of the novitiate was held by Fr. Gottfried Hirschberg. From 1934 until 1953 it was a minor seminary. Fr. Patrick Shanley was the first rector. By 1955 remodeling of this building into a retreat center was complete. What was once the oratory and choir (second level) became a cafeteria in the late 1940's. The friars cells on the third and fourth levels became guest rooms. The assembly room and parlor became conference room and lounge. In the late 1970's that conference room was made into a chapel (fourth level) and that lounge into a conference room (third level). A new lounge replaced what was formerly the cafeteria supervisor's quarters (third level). For the convenience of private retreatants, a rustic home style guest kitchen was installed on the first level in 1982.

Chapter XI:

Third Shrine and New Friary

When Fr. Corbinian's term ended, Fr. Cyril became superior of Holy Hill (about 1921). One of Fr. Cyril's accomplishments was the authorship of an early history of Holy Hill published in 1923. Two years later, Fr. Cyril was entrusted with the construction of the third shrine church of Our Lady - Help of Christians. The architect was Mr. Herman Gaul of Chicago and the contractors were H. Schmitt & Son.
The last services in the second shrine - a tearfull moment for many - were held on September 8, 1925, the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady. It was necessary to raze this church, destroy Fr. Bertram's Lourdes Grotto and level the hill another twenty feet to provide a suitable foundation for the new church. Materials for construction were routed from Milwaukee, via North Lake and Richfield and then to the hill. Once at the hill they were transported to the top by a skip hoist, which is a system of cables and track. During the construction period, a temporary chapel (the Little Flower Mission Chapel) was used on the grounds. The chapel was later given to Camp Villa Jerome at Friess Lake. This camp is now Glacier Hills County Park, Washington County Park System, and the chapel is still used on occasion, but not always for religious purposes.
On August 22, 1926 the cornerstone of the present and third shrine to be erected on this site was placed by Archbishop Sepastian G. Messmer. Written in Latin, the inscription translates, Because of the increased numbers of those honoring the helper, the Blessed Virgin Mary, lam already the cornerstone of the third temple on the summit of this mount. In the year of Our Lord 1926. The homilist was Monsignor Rempe of Chicago.
By November 7, 1927, the outer structure of the church was complete. Mary's shrine officially reopened to pilgrims on July 15, 1929 owhen the lower church, now the Chapel of St. Therese of the child Jesus (the Little Flower), was blessed and the first Eucharistic Liturgy celebrated by Monsignor Bernard G. Traudt of Milwaukee. Two more years passed until the upper church was ready for blessing and dedication.
Bishop James Griffin, of Springfield, Illinois officiated in the name of Samuel A. Stritch, then Archbishop of Milwaukee, on July 18 and 19, 1931 for the dedication ceremonies. Traditionally, as soon as the altars in a new church are blessed they are immediately decorated with flowers and appropriate linens in preparation for the first celebration of Eucharist. This first Eucharistic Liturgy took place on July 18, 1931 and was attended by invited guests. The official dedication ceremony for the new Shrine of Mary - Help of Christians at Holy Hill, Wisconsin was celebrated on July 19, 1931. For this ceremony, the doors remained closed and the sanctuary empty until Bishop Griffin blessed the doors with holy water and opened them to the public.
The next major construction at Holy Hill was the present friary done under the superiorship of Fr. Bernardine Tinnefeld. This split-level structure is built into the side of the hill and is joined to the rear north side of the church. A type of inverted stair design in the construction of the building makes each floor progressively longer than the floor below. The front of the building is six stories high. The section which adjoins the church is only two stories high. These two stories are the fifth and sixth floors of the friary. The friary choir is on the sixth floor of the building and overlooks the upper church sanctuary (pilgrims enjoy hearing the friars recite their community prayers when the choir windows are open). The oratory for the upper church is directly below the choir. This is the fifth floor of the friary and the same level as the floor of the upper church. The friars moved into their new home between February 7 and II, 1938. This building was blessed on May 24, 938 by the order's provincial, Fr. Augustine.
The construction of the friary was the last major work done at the hill until the construction of the present shrine chapel (described in the section on Mary). There were two objects of interest added to the hill in 1956. These are the eight-foot double-white carara marble statues placed above the entrance to the upper church. The statue of St. Mary - Help of Christians is on the left, and the statue of St. Joseph protector of the order is on the right. The statues, which were raised into position on July 2,1956 under the superiorship of Fr. Stephen Dzuban, are anchored to the church structure by iron rods that pierce through the back of each niche.
Efforts to provide modern conveniences for the pilgrims led the friars of Holy Hill to their next major enterprise: the construction of the elevator tower, observation deck, new gift shop and guest house. This massive undertaking was accomplished by the Hutter Construction Company. Fr. Columban McGough was superior of Holy Hill at the time. The dedication took place on October 28, 1962. Many pilgrims welcomed the modernization, but just as many felt deep regret over the loss of the beautiful staircase that graced the shrine entrance for thirty-one years.
There is a hallway located between the elevator tower and the lower church entrance, which is now known as the Marian Halway. When it needed painting in 1967, Br. Francis Enders decided that he would undertake this task. His artistic efforts reproduced several symbolic representations of Mary's titles. His labor of love was completed in 1968. Br. Francis had entered the order as a young man, but left to marry and raise a family. He re-entered in later life as a widower.
On May 16, 1976, an addition to the Sacred Heart Shrine arrived. Donated by our Catholic brethren from the Ukrainian Eastern Rite, it is the beautiful mosaic icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv. Many of our Eastern Rite brethren make yearly pilgrimages to Holy Hill. The Catholic Church owes much to them for their courageous battles against the heresies that plagued the early church, especially those concerning the Incarnate nature of Christ. Modernization began again with the superiorship of Fr. James Hushek in 1968 when much needed and greatly improved restroom facilities were added to Holy Hill. These facilities were added on to the new gift shop.
Improvements continued with Fr. Leonard Copeland as superior. Through the fall of 1982 and spring of 1983, landscaping efforts restored the charm of the past to Holy Hill. In remembrance of the original staircase, a rustic walkway through the wooded area between the upper parking lot and the upper church was constructed. This attractive addition made good use of otherwise wasted space. A reverent addition to the path was the statue of St. Therese.
A long association with the Conrad Schmitt Studios was renewed in 1984 when their artistry was once again required. "It was in the early 1920s that the Conrad Schmitt Studios first became involved with the art and architecture of Holy Hill..." In 1952, the studios redecorated the shrine and now, thirty-two years later, were again exercising their skilled craftsmanship in redecorating and completely reworking both the upper and lower churches. Both have been completely cleaned and repainted in off-white tones.
The wall behind the main altar in the sanctuary of the upper church was painted in gold tones heavily modeled (textured), and covered with gold leaf. This background captures the gold highlights in the Court of Heaven mosaic. The sanctuary ceiling, basically preserved from the 1952 decoration, was frescoed with an application of gold leaf creating a brilliant canopy over the entire area. The story of creation was painted in seven individual circles around the sanctuary archway. Each is a symbolic representation of a single day of creation. At the top of the arch is a Greek symbol that means Jesus Christ, victor or conqueror. The gold and off-white tones add warmth to the Romanesque style of the church interior besides giving it an ethereal effect.
The Sacred Heart Shrine was stripped and gilded. The stenciled pattern on the back wall was kept simple to enhance the pictorial filigree of the windows. According to the Conrad Schmitt Studios, "The character of decoration and ornamentation within this structure is based on the quiet orderliness of the Romanesque structure from which this architectural form was designed."
The old confessionals were removed exposing the beautiful and symbolic Marian windows they had kept hidden for many years. A reconciliation room was constructed in the bell tower to replace the confessionals. The upper church was finished in time for Easter 1985.
In the spring of 1985, the Chapel of St. Therese (lower church) was completely cleaned and repainted. A gold leaf decoration resembling a blossomless rose stem was added to the wall behind the altar. The rose has been the traditional symbol for the Little Flower because of her promise to send a shower of roses to all who ask her for prayers and because of her great suffering on earth. Other changes in the chapel include replacing the old plaster set of stations with the set from the old monastery before it became a guest house. Further remodeling removed two of the old confessionals and converted the remaining two into comfortable reconciliation rooms. As a final touch during the summer of 1985, new carpeting was added to the upper and lower church sanctuary and to the shrine chapel. New sanctuary furniture was purchased for both the upper and lower church.
Three exterior improvements were made during the summer of 1985. Tuck pointing the twin spires of Holy Hill was the first. This procedure involves removal and replacement of old mortar and brick, and repair of the lime stone trim. After the mortar is dry, it is waterproofed with a silicon sealer. When this is complete, the entire structure is sprayed with liquid silicone building sealant. The men worked upwards of 152 feet. The average for this type of work is thirty to fifty feet. The work was done by the Eldun Construction Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and according to their representative, Holy Hill " good for another hundred years." Holy Hill's observation tower is a major attraction for many.
Landscaping and beautification of the Lourdes Grotto was the second and more attractive improvement to the grounds that summer. The third set of improvements made involved enclosing the lower parking lot, and the picnic grounds near the first station with railroad ties for better traffic control. The Parish Center parking lot was also enclosed, but with a rustic fence. Since then, the roads have been resurfaced.
In the fall of 1986, a new sound system was installed in the upper church. It was designed in the shape of a large cross and suspended from the center arch of the main sanctuary.
The installation of a gate system to prevent after hours trespassing, and more powerful lights for the parking lot have been two of many improvements for 1987.
Physical renovations are constantly done at Holy Hill to help make Mary's shrine more contemplative and comfortable for the thousands of pilgrims who visit each year. The physical needs of the pilgrims are important to the friars of Holy Hill, but greater still is the concern for their spiritual welfare, for "what good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" (Mt. 16:26). The strength of Holy Hill is in the faith of the pilgrims who come and in the prayer life of the friars who minister to them.
In all the Discalced Carmelite Friars do at Holy Hill or anywhere, their life is prayer-centered. This is their primary apostolate. As it is written in Ps. 113:3, "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets the name of the Lord is to be praised." Early morning and early evening prayer have special meaning. According to Gen. 3:8 it was in the cool of the day that God walked with man in the garden of Eden before the fall. The friars begin their day with community prayer at 6:30 am followed by one hour of contemplative prayer at 6:45. The climax of their morning prayer is the celebration of God's perpetual presence in our lives, the Eucharistic Liturgy, at 8:00 am, for as the Lord our God says, "Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you" (Heb. 13:5).
Their apostolates begin some time after Eucharist and/or breakfast and continue until 11:55 when they gather in the refectory for recitation of the Angelus and then lunch. After an optional rest period, their apostolic works continue from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm when the friars return to the choir for community evening prayer and their second hour of contemplative prayer. The day concludes with dinner at 6:15 pm The remainder of the evening is open. "
There is a change in the schedule on Sunday and Wednesday when the hour of contemplative prayer is between 4:00 and 5:00 pm. Community evening prayer is between 5:00 and 5:15 pm and is followed by a special recreation time. This community recreation is time set aside for the friars to enjoy each other's company as a family. It is this family atmosphere that the Discalced Carmelite Friars seek to nourish. Through their shared experience in prayer-filled brotherhood, the friars are able to become effective ministers to the thousands of pilgrims who come to Holy Hill each year. The friars strive to be a living witness to their patron St. John of the Cross when he says: "Now I occupy my soul and all my energy in His service...""
Within the spirit of John's teaching, these friars engage in apostolates that are in accordance with their interests and abilities. Some practical apostolates include gardening, general maintenance of buildings and grounds, tailoring, guest house management, nursing, cooking and more. Other apostolates include celebrating liturgies for pilgrims, retreats, spiritual talks, spiritual counseling, administration of the sacraments, personal blessings, Benediction and Marian devotions (rosary, litany and scripture services). The ordained Carmelites of Holy Hill often help out the neighboring parishes with liturgies on Sundays and holy days.
The friars of Holy Hill are responsible for St. Mary's of the Hill parish and provide it with a pastor. In August 1968 the parishioners bought ten acres of land from the friars of Holy Hill for the center, which is located on the grounds below the shrine church opposite the lower level parking lot. Most parish activities such as CCD programs and Sunday liturgy are held in the parish center.
Originally St. Mary's of the Hill parish was founded to replace St. Augustine's parish. St. Augustine's parish began about the year 1840 with Sunday liturgy celebrated in the Kohler home. In 1846 a log chapel was built that served the parish until it was destroyed by fire in 1855. This was replaced that same year with the stone church that burned down on October 21, 1922 (the ruins may be seen on the northeast corner of highway 167 and county road CC). At the time of this fire, there were sixty-eight members of the parish.
The Carmelites of Holy Hill were in charge of St. Augustine's and welcomed the parishioners to make Holy Hill their temporary home. The loss was heavy for the small congregation with estimated damage at approximately $12,000. The parish had carried insurance but was left with only $5,000 in insurance money after companies with which they carried additional insurance went into bankruptcy. New policies had not yet been secured. Fr. Corbinian went to Archbishop Messmer to get permission to rebuild the church. Permission was granted under the condition that Fr. Corbinian collect enough funds. Fr. Corbinian went to the parishioners to solicit funds but was unable to raise enough money for the project. Two years later, on September 22, 1924, Archbishop Messmer officially dissolved St. Augustine's and established St. Mary's of the Hill parish.

. Posted in History

Chapter VIII:

Early History

While Fr. J. B. Hasselbauer was pastor of St. Augustine's parish, Roman Goetz hewed a white oak cross from a tree that grew at the foot of the hill. (Mr. Goetz was a parishioner who served as the hill's custodian and did much to advance its popularity.) The cross, now on display in the Marian Halway, is five by seven inches thick and originally stood fifteen feet above the ground. Engraved on the cross in German are the words, Ich Bin das Leben wer an mich glaubt wird selig - lam the life, who believes in Me shall be saved. Roman Goetz, his son-in-law Mathias Werner and several friends carried the cross to the top of the hill and placed it into position. Once there, a hardwood box with a lock was fastened to the cross for donations. Fr. Hasselbauer led a procession from St. Augustine's parish to the top of the hill for the solemn blessing of the cross in June 1858.
In 1861 Fr. George Strickner relieved Fr. Hasselbauer as pastor of the Richfield parishes. At this time, the priests cared for the needs of Holy Hill from their residence in Richfield.^ Under Fr. Strickner's direction, the industrious German members of St. Augustine's congregation, especially those living near Holy Hill, made plans to build a log chapel on top the hill. Work on the chapel began in the summer of 1862. Timbers for the chapel were cut from trees at the bottom of the hill. Once cut, the trees were hewn smooth on two sides. The finished timbers were hauled about halfway up the hill to a level spot by a team of horses. From there, resting on levers, they were carried up the remaining distance by hand. With the passage of time, the logs of this chapel were completely disfigured by names and dates carved into them.
The chapel was sixteen feet square and stood on a stone foundation facing west. A crucifix was mounted on the peak of the roof above the entrance. It had four windows, two facing north and two south. It stood about ten feet high from ground to eaves and eight feet from ceiling to floor. The inside walls and ceiling were plastered and painted. The walls were adorned with pictures and charts of Christian religious history. There were a number of crutches and other tokens of illness cured through prayer placed in the southwest corner of the chapel. Benches sat along each wall and in front of the altar. A brass container for holy water and an offering box completed the chapel interior. The workers finished on Good Friday 1863.
At the dedication ceremony on May 24, 1863 Fr. George Strickner stood on the front step of this simple log chapel and preached the first sermon from the Shrine of Mary - Help of Christians to about 1500 persons. In this sermon, Fr. Strickner used the name Holy Hill formally for the first time.
Holy Hill was in the care of local priests for thirty years. One who contributed many improvements during his eight years of service was Fr. Ferdinand Raess. (Fr. Raess was instrumental in correcting the original deed for Holy Hill.) He was the first to live at St. Hubert's in Hubertus when he became pastor on April 9, 1875. Under his direction, the road from below the hill to its top was graded in order to allow teams of horses to ascend with comparative ease. He installed the first stations by the side of this path. These were simple wooden crosses with pictures of Christ's passion attached at the center. This set of stations was built by George Klippel of Richfield.
In winter of 1879, Fr. Raess summitted a proposal to Archbishop Henni for a new shrine at Holy Hill. He requested the service of H. C. Koch, a Milwaukee Architect. For $100, Mr. Koch provided plans, specifications and cost estimates for the second shrine. John Fellenz of Milwaukee was the contractor.
The specifications called for 200,000 bricks. This presented two major transportation problems. The first problem was getting bricks to the hill and the second was getting them up the hill. John Rover, a brickmaker from Sheboygan, solved the first problem. Mr. Rover found suitable clay for bricks sixty rods north of the northeast corner of the hill. The bricks made with this clay proved excellent in quality.
Getting materials up the hill was extremely difficult. Ordinary horse teams could haul only 200 bricks at one time. This would have meant a total of 1000 trips. Fortunately, enough fieldstone was found after leveling the hill to build the foundation of the church. This reduced the number of trips needed.
Work began in spring of 1879. It was necessary to excavate the hill about fifteen or twenty feet before a spot was leveled to a size adequate for the foundation. The peculiar formation of the hill would not permit the church to stand on a true compass line. Consequently, it fronted nearly south with sides extending twenty-three degrees east from a line running due north and south.
The church was built in accordance with the original plans of architect Koch for the cost of $5000. When finished, the church was seventy-six feet long including altar extension, forty-six feet wide with an eighteen square foot annex at the northeast corner for the sacristy. The walls were twenty feet high to the eaves and were solid brick anchored with iron rods to the heavy stone foundation. The roof was steep and above it rose a steeple with gilt cross on top. The chapel elevation was about sixty-eight feet.
In the fall of 1879, Fr. Raess requested John Fellenz to begin con- struction of a new parsonage in the ravine across from the present ninth station. Fr. Raess lived there from its completion in October 1880 until September 1883. This residence, which later became the first guest house, was destroyed by fire on a Sunday morning in October, 1933.
Many pilgrims staying at the guest house came to Holy Hill via Hartford or Richfield. During this era, it was easiest for pilgrims to reach Holy Hill by taking the train to either town and traveling the remaining distance by horse-drawn carriage. In 1903, Richfield offered the services of Benny Dickel, proprietor of the Dickel Hotel and Livery. Mr. Dickel became a livery boy at age twelve and remained active until age 85. The two-fold purpose of the Dickel's hotel was (1) to bring visitors up to Holy Hill, and (2) for transporting salesman to the neighboring communities. Dickel's had various rigs, some three and four seaters, and a buggy bus that held twelve to fourteen passengers. The approximately two and one-half hour trip cost fifty cents.
The pilgrim route via Hartford was popular between 1883 and 1893 while Fr. Nicholas M. Zimmer was pastor of St. Kilian's in Hartford. He coordinated and widely advertised the Hartford pilgrimages to Holy Hill. Fr. Zimmer became pastor of St. Kilian's in September of 1883 and simultaneously took on responsibility for Holy Hill."
Among his additions to the second shrine were a 1200 pound bell purchased in 1885 from McShane & Co. of Baltimore for which a separate bell tower was erected (the largest of the three bells used today); three Gothic altars dedicated on August 15, 1887 (the statue of Our Lady of Holy Hill was placed above the main altar); the second set of stations (made from brick) erected in 1889; the purchase of land in 1890 belonging to Mathias Werner for the road leading from present State Highway 167 to the first station and the painting of frescos by Leibig and Gaerdner of Milwaukee in 1891. Fr. Zimmer was in charge until his successor, Fr. John Bertram, arrrived in 1893. Fr. Bertram's directorship was responsible for the addition of the first Lourdes grotto, a new pipe organ and the completion of many needed repairs.
About this time it was felt by officials of the Milwaukee Archdiocese that because of its increasing popularity, Holy Hill should be placed in the care of a religious order. Archbishop Sebastian G. Messmer first offered the Hill to the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin but instead placed it in the care of the Discalced Carmelite Friars. As an order dedicated to Mary, the Discalced Carmelites are especially suited for the care of the Shrine of Mary - Holy Hill.

Chapter IX:

The Brothers of St. Mary of Mt. Carmel

The Carmelites originated on the rugged terrain of Mt. Carmel (near present-day Haifa, then called Acre) when a group of lay penitents came from Europe to visit the homeland of Jesus. The penitents intended to pattern their life after the Prophet Elijah. These men took residence in the Caves of Mt. Carmel 600 feet above the Mediterranian Sea near the spring of Elijah, in order to "...meditate on the law of the Lord night and day" (Jos. 1:8), for in this was their joy (Ps. 1:2). They were to keep watch and to pray at all times (Lk. 21:36; Mk. 14:38; I Pt. 4:7) unless occupied with manual labor.
The hermits of Carmel petitioned Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, for a formal rule sometime between 1206-1214. The "Formula of Life" he gave them amplified the discipline of prayer and work already lived by the hermits. What follows is a much abridged version of St. Albert's rule as approved by Pope Honorius III on January 30, 1226. (1) A superior was to be chosen from among them to whom they must promise obedience. (2) They must live in separate cells (caves or rooms) with the superior's cell near the entrance to the property in order for him to be the first to greet visitors. (3) In addition to contemplative prayer, those who could were to read the Psalms (this later became the liturgy of the hours) at certain times of the day in accordance with church custom. If they were unable to read, reciting a given number of Our Fathers was a substitute. (4) The brothers were to share everything in common. They were allowed to receive personal items from the superior and also to keep a certain amount of livestock. (5) An oratory (chapel) was to be built in the center of their community for daily Mass. (6) Sunday was set aside for community meetings. (7) With the exception of Sunday, a daily fast was required from the feast of the Exaltation to the Holy Cross to Easter Sunday. Abstinence (from meat) was perpetual except for those in poor health. (8) Silence was to be kept from after evening prayer until morning prayer. (The strict obervance of Grand Silence is no longer practiced)
The little oratory (mentioned in no. 5 above) was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Because of this, the men became known as the Brothers of St. Mary of Mt. Carmel. Their official title today is The Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
During the sixth crusade (1228-1229), conditions became life-threatening for Christians living in the Holy Land. This forced the hermits of Carmel to begin a westward migration around 1238. Some of these early Carmelites returned to England in 1242. The Carmelites continued their eremitical life-style in Europe until 1247 when the decision to petition the Pope for changes in their rule was made at a chapter meeting in Aylesford, England. The rule of St. Albert was mitigated on September 4, 1247 and was given canonical status by Pope Innocent IV. The Carmelites were addressed as an order for the first time on October 1, 1247.
The mitigation allowed the hermits of Carmel to become a mendicant order. As mendicants, their income would depend upon charitable donations. Owning nothing, they would keep themselves free to change locations as requested by their superiors. The men would now live in friaries with separate cells in order to keep their eremitical tradition (a friar's home is his cell). Formerly, they were only allowed to reside in secluded areas, but upon receiving permission to preach in public, they also recieved permission to live in or near cities, their friaries to be owned in common (Holy Hill is this type of residence). For practical reasons, the severity of their fast and abstinence was reduced. These adjustments were necessary for them to survive in the changing world.
The changes in the order that resulted from the mitigation of the original rule caused problems among the members. Many did not want to leave their eremitical life-style to become mendicant. Devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, some feared that a change would in some way show unfaithfulness to her. It was during this period of disagreement that the legendary Scapular Vision occurred. According to legend, the Blessed Virgin, clothed in the habit of the Carmelite Friars, appeared to St. Simon Stock in 1251. In the vision, the Carmelites received a garment called a scapular from Mary with a promise of her protection to all who would wear it regardless of their change in life-style. The vision brought about a bond of unity among them and the scapular became part of their official habit. Today, this scapular is formally called the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. As knights in times long past carried the colors of their lady into mortal combat, so the Discalced Carmelite Friars carried the colors of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel into spiritual battle." Like Mary, they stand ready to present her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to all who will accept Him.

Mass & Confession

 Daily Masses
6:00 a.m.
11:00 a.m.

Daily Confessions
10:15 a.m.

Sunday Masses
4:30 p.m. Vigil Mass (Saturday)
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.

Weekend Confessions
4:00 p.m. (Saturday)
45 minutes before all Sunday Masses

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