We Adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Lent reminds us that Christ crucified is our hope. But why can it be so difficult to explain to others? Art can be a way to speak to others about Christ when words fail.

The Catholic Church has used paintings and grand architecture to convey throughout history the story of Christ.

Close up of Station Five

In December 2019, a small group of lay faithful optioned the right to purchase an 82-acre parcel in Augusta, Michigan. With one year to raise the funds, seventeen families came together in support of  “The Sanctuary” project and raised $1.25 million dollars to acquire the land.

Through the expression of great art, The Sanctuary, a professionally designed sculpture park and nature preserve, will tell the story of Christ’s journey to Calvary through sixty larger-than-life bronze sculptures depicting the Stations of the Cross and retelling the fourteen encounters Christ had along the path of sorrows known as Via Dolorosa.

Just twenty minutes from Kalamazoo, the location in Augusta, Michigan lies between Chicago and Detroit and a short drive from Grand Rapids, Lansing and Ann Arbor.. Accompanied by an audio tour, visitors will walk the half-mile circuitous footpath, nestled amongst the serene beauty of wooded hills and wildlife. The Sanctuary will tell the story of Christ’s passion and self-sacrificing love for each of us, moving one’s mind from a Bible story on a page to walking with Christ in his final hours.

We found The Sanctuary struck our hearts as a beautiful blend of faith, art, nature, and evangelization. We were so impressed with the skill of the sculptors and the thorough design of the visitor’s experience,”  shared Eric and Sue Jeska. 

There has never been a more immediate time to share the story of Christ than now. According to a 2022 Pew Research survey, America’s fastest-growing category of religious identity is ‘none,’ or people with no religious affiliation. This group could grow as large as 52% in the next 40 years. 

This data reflects what hearts lack; a personal relationship with God. The Sanctuary will be a place where beauty provides a refuge for the most vulnerable among us who do not know of Christ’s love while offering a place of meditation for the faithful who desire to grow deeper in their relationship with God.

Upon completion in the fall of 2024, The Sanctuary will offer refuge to those who seek to know the love of Christ by encountering His passion in the journey to Calvary made real in the true beauty of art and the haven of nature.  The Sanctuary is a $14.5 million venture. To date, over $7 million has been donated. 

“We chose to partner with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan because they have the infrastructure and expertise in place to accommodate major gift donations with the ability to meet a donor’s preferred method of giving. The Foundation has been a trusted partner handling sensitive donor financial information ethically and confidentially,” shared Sue Jeska.

The Sanctuary team welcomes the opportunity to further discuss the project and its exciting progress with you. Please contact the Catholic Foundation of Michigan with your questions or requests for additional information about how your contribution can be a part of this legacy project.  

Most importantly,  especially during this Lent, we ask for your prayers that God blesses the design team with His guidance and moves hearts to be a part of this evangelization project.

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