Visitor to Starkenburg shrine finds radiant cross image in her photo


SCROLL THE ARROWS to see a close-up of the image.

A light stood out from the others, and it was in the shape of a cross.

Marian Scheppers Forck made the discovery while looking at photos she took on Nov. 8, during the Church of the Risen Savior Parish Fall Dinner in Valentine Hall at the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Starkenburg.

“This was very special to me, seeing the cross,” she stated in her St. Aubert News column in the Nov. 10, 2021, edition of the Unterrified Democrat newspaper.

She recounted how she and her husband had gone to Mass that morning in Chamois, then traveled to Starkenburg through a panoply of autumn colors.

“We toured the Shrine of our Lady of Sorrows and walked the Stations of the Cross through the woods,” she noted. “I took lots of neat and beautiful pictures.”

She was standing next to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto when she aimed her camera toward a nearby grove of trees and opened the shutter several times.

Sunlight in the shape of a cross shone through the leaves and tree branches.

She noted that the illuminated cross could only be seen in the photos and not with the naked eye while looking at the trees, which were rustling in the breeze.

She pointed out that the grounds of the former St. Martin Parish, now part of Church of the Risen Savior Parish in Rhineland, have been a pilgrimage destination for generations.

Bavarian immigrants and other Catholics founded the parish in 1846.

“Jesuit fathers endured many hardships coming from Washington and later from Hermann,” Mrs. Forck wrote. “They rode by horseback 45 miles to offer Mass in homes, later a tobacco barn, and then a log church.”

She’s proud that her grandfather, Ben Scheppers, helped build the stone chapel at the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, as well as the impressive outdoor grottos.

“At this time, he was living in Wardsville and had a long trip to Starkenburg to help,” she wrote. “Sometimes, he would take my dad, Lawrence, with him while working on the church. My dad didn’t do much work because he was pretty young then.

“My uncle Otto also helped with the church,” she noted.